Texas Tech Late four-star Gen. Richard E. Cavazos was a 1951 graduate.
Gen. Richard Edward Cavazos was the quintessential soldier. The National Museum of the United States Army said of Cavazos, “There are few individuals who are the right person, in the right place and at the right time. General Richard E. Cavazos was one of those people.”
Cavazos' legacy in the battlefield and beyond has led to the renaming of U.S. Army base Fort Hood in Killeen to Fort Cavazos.
“General Cavazos' combat-proven leadership, his moral character and his loyalty to his soldiers and their families made him the fearless yet respected and influential leader that he was during the time he served, and beyond,” said Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe, III Armored Corps Commanding General in a prepared statement.
Cavazos graduated from Texas Tech University, then Texas Technological College, in 1951 with a bachelor's degree in geology, now part of the Department of Geosciences. He was a member of the Texas Tech football team and a distinguished graduate of the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
“Texas Tech Army ROTC continues training leaders who follow in Gen. Cavazos' great legacy,” said assistant professor of military science with the Texas Tech Army ROTC Major Patrice Conyers. “He was commissioned here in 1951 at what was then Texas Technological College and was a Distinguished Military Graduate, a recognition only achieved by the top academic achievers and leaders competing across the nation each year.”
Cavazos would go on to serve in the Army in both the Korean War and Vietnam War receiving the Distinguished Service Cross citation in each conflict. Post-Vietnam, Cavazos became the first Hispanic person to reach the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army. He made history once again when he was appointed the army's first Hispanic four-star general in 1982. He retired from the armed services in 1984.
After retirement, Cavazos was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Chemical Warfare Review Committee. He also continued to play a vital role in the education and training of soldiers for the next decade. Even while still actively involved in training military members, Cavazos served as a member of the Texas Tech Board of Regents from 1989 to 1995.
Cavazos was laid to rest at Fort Sam Houston Cemetery after his death in October 2017 at the age of 88. He was posthumously inducted into the Texas Tech Wall of Honor, recognizing military alumni by the Military & Veterans Program.
“It's a great day for Texas Tech, as Gen. Cavazos and his legacy continue to echo across Texas, the United States and the U.S. Army by having the largest Texas military installation named after him,” Military & Veterans National Alumni Network President J. Eloy Guerra said. “Gen. Cavazos never forgot his alma mater and now Texas and the rest of the nation will know that From Here, It's Possible.”
Cavazos is the brother of former Texas Tech President Lauro Cavazos, who served the university from 1980 to 1988 and would later serve two presidents as the U.S. Secretary of Education. His younger brother, Robert “Bobby” Cavazos, was a second-team AP All-America running back at Texas Tech.
General Cavazos is featured in the latest edition of Evermore, the official magazine of Texas Tech.