Tag Archives: Fort Hood

Getting used to new wheels

Our shakedown cruise hauling a down-sized recreational vehicle has taught me some lessons.

We traded in our 29-foot fifth wheel for a shiny new 21-foot travel trailer. We like the new unit … a lot! Even while struggling just a bit with constrained space in the new trailer, we are committed to it and we believe our scaled-down retirement travel itinerary will suit our new wheeled “digs” just fine.

We hauled it to the Texas Hill Country and found out as we motored down some back-road highways that our truck pulls the travel trailer just as easily as it did the fifth wheel.

Oh, but get a load of this: We ran into a “road closed” blockade along Texas Highway 236 near Foot Hood. We had to back the trailer up and turn it around. We were able to do so with much greater ease than we would have been able to do with a much more cumbersome fifth wheel.

We have what they call a “one-butt kitchen” in our trailer. We have fewer square feet of storage space. We will need to figure out what goes with us on the road and what stays home. The good news for me is that I married to an expert in making these key decisions. Therefore, I will defer to her … mostly.

The even better news is that our retirement journey is still heading for the open road. Just not as lengthy a stretch of road, but we’ll still be venturing our way further into retirement.


How does ‘Fort Benavidez’ sound?

Texas Monthly has pushed forward a capital idea: renaming Fort Hood after an authentic Texas hero.

Fort Hood’s name has come under fire — no pun intended — in the wake of the nation’s recent awakening over the identity of public institutions and the display of monuments that “honor” Confederate traitors to the nation.

Fort Hood is one such place. Its name belongs to John Bell Hood, a Confederate officer who was among those who betrayed the nation. As Texas Monthly points out, though, not only was Hood a traitor, he was a lousy field commander. His recklessness on the battlefield reportedly led to the fall of Atlanta, Ga., during the Civil War.

So we have chosen to put this guy’s name on an Army post.

TM suggests the name of Roy Benavidez, a Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient and a legitimate hero. And a Texan to boot!

Benavidez was born near Cuero. His parents died when he was a boy. He volunteered for the Army, qualified as a Green Beret, served in Vietnam as an adviser to South Vietnamese troops. After being injured badly during his first combat tour, Benavidez went back for a second tour and served with valor.

As Texas Monthly notes: So, Texas, it’s up to you. Do we continue to honor a Texan of convenience who fought ineptly against the United States government in defense of slavery, or choose instead to bestow those garlands on a native-born son of the Coastal Bend, who, in the Army’s own words, through “fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds” epitomized “the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army”?

This is not a close call.

No need to ‘erase history’

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and the senior senator from this state, is now “open” to the possibility of changing the names of U.S. military posts that contain the names of Confederate traitors against the nation.

He formerly opposed it. Now he’s willing to study it along with members of both parties in the Senate.

“I realize these are contentious issues,” he continued. “What I don’t want us to do is to try to erase our history because, frankly, if you forget your history, you’re condemned to relive it.”

Look, there is no need to “erase our history” by removing the names. Just put those names in the proper museums, allowing our children to study them and to understand what they did to have their names eliminated from those military installations.

For the record, what they did was declare war against the United States, fight for the Confederate States of America, inflict hundreds of thousands of casualties on American warriors. And for what purpose? To allow states to keep human beings in bondage as slaves.

Lesson over. Take the names down.

I hope Sen. Cornyn’s views on the subject continue to evolve in the right direction.

Tragedy strikes the armed forces


Today was a terrible day for members of three of our nation’s armed forces.

First, a member of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds crashed moments after taking part in a graduation ceremony flyover at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

The pilot managed to eject from the F-16 before it crash landed; happily, the pilot is OK. He managed a brief meeting later with President Obama, who was among those attending the ceremony; the president had given the commencement address.

Then it got much worse.

A U.S. Navy Blue Angels FA-18 jet crashed on a training mission in Tennessee. That pilot died in the crash.

And then …

Three U.S. Army soldiers died when their truck got caught up in floodwaters near Fort Hood, Texas. Six more soldiers are missing in that tragic event.

I mention this to call attention to the sacrifice that can occur even when our young men and women aren’t thrust into combat.

Our hearts break for the families of those who were lost today. I hope they know their nation grieves for them.

Purple Hearts for Fort Hood victims? Yes

Do you want a more graphic demonstration of how the war against international terrorism has changed the rules of engagement?

Try this: Texas lawmakers are gathering at Fort Hood this morning to present 40 Purple Hearts to active-duty service personnel who were wounded in a 2009 shooting on the sprawling Army post.


Army Major Nidal Hasan was convicted of murdering 13 people in the Nov. 5, 2009 rampage and has been sentenced to death for his crime.

This is a deserving honor for the individuals wounded in the attack. Given that the international war on terror — and Hasan clearly committed a terrorist act when he opened fire at Fort Hood — has redefined the “battlefield,” the individuals deserve the Purple Hearts.

As the Texas Tribune reported: “Federal authorities initially classified the incident as workplace violence, and victims and their supporters spent years trying to convince the government to call the act terrorism so they could qualify for the Purple Heart and benefits that come with it. Hasan has said he planned the attack as a way of protecting Muslim insurgents abroad.”

Several Texas officials plan to attend the ceremony this morning. One of them, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — an announced Republican presidential candidate — calls the award long overdue. “This attack was a clear act of radical Islamic terrorism, conducted on American soil — the original decision to designate it ‘workplace violence’ and deny these honors was a betrayal of the sacrifice of each of the victims,” Cruz said in a statement. “We can never undo the events of that day, but we can properly honor the courageous patriots who protect our nation and remain forever grateful for them.”

The government today will do the right thing by honoring those who wounded by Nidal Hasan.


Fort Hood … again

Violence has erupted at Fort Hood yet again.

It’s early in the aftermath of the latest shooting rampage at the sprawling Army post in Central Texas.

Four people — including the gunman — are dead and many others are injured.


It was less than five years ago that Army Major Nadal Hasan opened fire on his fellow soldiers while protesting the Pentagon’s war policies in Afghanistan. Hasan, a psychiatrist and a devout Muslim, had been ordered to Afghanistan; he wouldn’t go, so he embarked on a senseless rampage. An Army court martial convicted him and sentenced him to death.

Now this event.

The nation’s heart breaks once again at this senseless shooting. President Obama vows to get to the bottom of what transpired. Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said the Pentagon’s main focus right now is to support the families of those who were killed or wounded.

Meanwhile, the simplest of questions arises from this tragic act. Why?

Too bad Hasan got his wish

Nidal Hasan got his wish.

A military court has sentenced the Fort Hood mass murderer to death by lethal injection. The one-time U.S. Army major and Muslim extremist who killed 13 people in that horrific Fort Hood massacre in 2009, wants to go out as a martyr, which is what he perceives his faith entitles him.

Hasan acted as his own attorney during the trial. He didn’t question witnesses. He didn’t object to a single point the federal government made. He admitted to shooting those helpless victims because, as he said, he opposed U.S. war policy in Afghanistan — where the Army was about to send him before the shooting occurred.

Now, I guess he’ll get that chance if the Army ever carries out the sentence.

I wish the court had given him life in prison with zero possibility for parole.

It’s not that Hasan doesn’t deserve to die. It’s simply that the U.S. military has given Islamic extremists all over the world a reason to cheer the day the Army psychiatrist leaves this world for wherever he’s headed.

Now that the court has ruled, maybe the Pentagon brass can come up with a way to execute Hasan and then dispose of his remains in a manner that won’t create some kind of shrine that attracts religious perverts.

I keep thinking of the way the U.S. Navy took care of Osama bin Laden’s remains after the SEALs killed him in that daring May 2011 raid. They wrapped him up and threw him into the Indian Ocean. Isn’t there a similar option available for Nidal Hasan?

Keep the Army major, Nadal Hasan, alive

Nadal Hasan has been convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder. The crimes entitle him to a death penalty … which he says he desires.

My admonition to the military court that convicted him is to sentence him to life in prison. And by life I mean “life,” as in for as long as that animal draws breath.


Hasan, a psychiatrist and a major in the U.S. Army, represented himself in a trial. He has acknowledged killing 13 people Nov. 5, 2009 in that horrific massacre at Fort Hood, Texas. He didn’t mount a defense when it came time to do so. The jury that heard the evidence offered by prosecutors deliberated and then came back with the guilty verdict — as if they needed any time to actually ponder the evidence.

Now comes the punishment phase. Hasan killed those people as part of an Islamic jihad. He is a Muslim extremist who did not want to serve in Afghanistan. Well, he got his wish by committing that dastardly deed.

He also wants to be martyred. Dying at the hands of the U.S. government would, in his demented mind, earn him martyr status. But not just his in own so-called mind. He also would become a martyr to other extremists around the world who would rejoice at the thought of this individual being put to death by the “Great Satan.”

Deny him that martyr status. Toss him into the darkest hole possible and let him serve his time with other unspeakably violent criminals.