National Mounted Warrior Museum planned at Fort Hood, Texas
By ROSE L. THAYER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 17, 2020
AUSTIN, Texas – Plans to build the first phase of an $11 million mounted warfare museum at Fort Hood, Texas, have been approved after nearly 10 years of planning, fundraising and designing, the foundation spearheading the facility announced.
The National Mounted Warrior Museum, which is slated to open in 2022, will feature the story line of America’s warfighting from the Revolutionary War to the conflicts of today.
Construction will take about a year and could begin as early as September, said Bob Crouch, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and vice president of the National Mounted Warfare Foundation, which has led efforts to build the museum. Fort Hood officials will make the final decision on when crews can begin work.
“The intent is to do a groundbreaking ceremony,” Crouch said, noting any plans will follow necessary guidelines of the coronavirus pandemic. “We’re hoping things are at a point where we can make a big deal out of it.”
Though the pandemic has created added challenges to in-person fundraising efforts, Crouch said they do not anticipate an impact on construction.
The museum will be built in a large field near Fort Hood’s Marvin Leath Visitors Center and the stables of the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment. The area is on Fort Hood land but outside of the base gate so that it is accessible to the public.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy had to sign off on the plans because the land is Army property and the museum will be owned and operated by the Army upon completion, according to a news release.
Though the foundation has been working since 2011 to raise funds for the museum, it did not submit for approval until the $11 million needed for the first phase of construction and opening was secured.
The first phase includes a 58,000 square-foot museum with 13,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space and 7,000 square feet of temporary exhibit space, according to the news release. The Army Center of Military History will create the exhibits.
While the museum is meant to be a national museum dedicated to the history of modern warfare, it will also feature the history of Fort Hood and its units, which includes III Corps, the 1st Cavalry Division and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment. The two later units already have museums dedicated to their history on base and those will move into the new museum.
“Because it will talk about that history and the history of combined arms, which is the way we fight, it will make it a unique museum in the Army’s inventory,” Crouch said.
In the past month, discussions have resurfaced about the naming history of Fort Hood, which was named during World War II in recognition of John Bell Hood, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy who went on to serve as a Confederate general during the Civil War.
Democrats in Congress are pushing for the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act to include language to begin changing the name of Fort Hood and nine other Army bases that bear the names of Confederate generals.
“I’m sure in the storyline we will address the history very briefly of the namesake. It won’t be in a glorious manner. It’s a factual manner,” Crouch said.
With this first phase of the museum funded and approved, the foundation will continue its fundraising efforts to support future project phases, including an 11,000-square-foot expansion of the permanent exhibit space, four large multifunctional classrooms and conference rooms, a gift shop and offices for the foundation and museum staff.
"Fort Hood is exceptionally excited to soon host the National Mounted Warrior Museum,” Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, III Corps deputy commander, said in a statement. “The home of America's armored corps is the ideal place to display the history and innovation of mounted and armored warfare. This museum will stand as a testimony to the strength, agility and power that armored warfare brings to the modern battlefield.”
For more information on the project, go to https://nmwfoundation.org/.