North Fort Hood
Fort Hood is located in southwestern Bell and southeastern Coryell counties in Central Texas. Most of the 218,000 acres owned by the United States Army is located in Coryell County. On January 14, 1942, at the beginning of United States involvement in World War II, it was announced that a tank destroyer tactical and firing center would be established near Killeen, Texas. Gen. Andrew D. Bruce was selected as the first commander. The first major unit, the 893d Tank Destroyer Battalion, arrived from Fort Meade, Maryland, on April 2, 1942. As other troops began arriving, some 300 farming and ranching families were required, on very short notice, to give up their land. Camp Hood was officially opened on September 18, 1942, and has been continuously used for armored training ever since. The installation was named in honor of Gen. John Bell Hood. The mission at Camp Hood was almost immediately expanded to include a replacement and basic training center at North Fort Hood. At times as many as 100,000 soldiers were being trained for the war effort. During the later part of the war some 4,000 German prisoners of war were interned at Camp Hood.
The postwar years saw a significant reduction of activity, and the post's population dropped to about 1,700. By 1950 the temporary camp was designated the permanent status of Fort Hood. Basic facilities for a permanent army installation were constructed. The demands for training brought about by the Korean War accelerated military activities. The installation acquired an additional 49,578 acres in 1953 and former United States Air Force and Department of Defense landholdings in the 1950s and 1960s. Major army units stationed at one time or another at Fort Hood included the First, Second, and Fourth Armored divisions. In 1954 Fort Hood was the nation's only two-division installation, and the Third Corps was transferred from Camp Roberts, California. In 1990 the installation was the home of the headquarters of the III Corps under United States Army Forces command. Fort Hood was located in the Fifth United States Army area. The two active army divisions, the Second Armored Division ("Hell on Wheels") and the First Cavalry Division, were stationed there. Other commands at Fort Hood included the Sixth Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat), Corps Support Command, the Third Signal Brigade, and several tenant organizations including MEDDAC (Medical Department Activity), Test and Experimentation Command, and more than a dozen other smaller support or tenant commands including two major airfields. Reserve units such as the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Armored divisions and the Thirty-sixth Airborne Brigade of the Texas National Guard and other smaller regular and reserve units of the army, air force, and marine corps used the Fort Hood facility.
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