GEN. RICHARD CAVAZOS (RET.) PASSES AWAY
We are saddened to report that Gen. Richard Cavazos, the first Hispanic four-star general, passed away in San Antonio, Texas on October 29, 2017 at the age of 88 after a difficult battle with Alzheirmer’s. Cavazos was born in January 31, 1929 in Kingsville, Texas. Described as a gifted leader, Cavazos was the second-highest decorated officer in the Korean War and, by the end of his career, the holder of two Distinguished Service Crosses, two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, a Distinguished Flying Cross, five Bronze Stars with Valor and a Purple Heart. A Mexican-American officer assigned to the 65th Infantry Regiment in 1953, he served in Company “E” where he received the Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star for Valor. He also served extensively during the Vietnam War where he earned a second Distinguished Service Cross amongst other awards.
In 1976, Cavazos became the first Hispanic to reach the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army. In 1980, he became commander of III Corps — and is recognized for his innovative leadership of the Corps. In 1982, Cavazos again made military history by being appointed the Army’s first Hispanic four-star general. The same year, Cavazos assumed command of the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). His early support for the National Training Center and his involvement in the development of the Battle Command Training Program enormously influenced the war fighting capabilities of the U.S. Army. Cavazos retired from the U.S. Army in 1984 after thirty three years of distinguished service. He was buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Memories of this fine soldier, and my regards to “the little desert flower”, Mrs. Cavazos and the family in their loss. They moved in with us for a short period at Ft. Benning while awaiting quarters. Unless memory fails me, Dick and I both called The Pentagon and requested a change of orders. Korea was afire in war from June of 1950. We both had Europe orders, Dick (Germany) and me (Austria) but we requested Korea. Guess what, we got it! So to Korea we went in late 1952. Dick and I went through Jump school before we left for Korea to be home at Christmas time with our wings on. I beat Dick to Korea and against my wishes was ordered to Tank Company, 65th infantry (I was a tanker in the big war with the 113th Cavalry). I finally got to a rifle company, Co “B” (Angel Torres, the CO) and took “A” Co when Joe Fix went to Division. Dick took “E” Company about the same time. And the saga of Dick Cavazos began there already, displayed in his many decorations. So we began as platoon leaders and had hours of patrols. One of the great stories: Dick Cavazos brought in a Chinese prisoner on his back after one of the fights. He was a dedicated officer and leader. And I was proud to know him. Yes, we went through Ranger School after the Advanced course. And he was our Honor Graduate. If he were still with us, we would cry together on the Tragedy of Puerto Rico so much a part of our background. Hasta luego my friends and join me in a salute to this American legend.
COL Don Carmichael (Ret.) (former Company Commander for “A” & “C”)
This is a very sad day for me. Gen. Cavazos, “Dick” was like a brother to me when we served together in Korea. I remember June 14, 1953 like it was yesterday. We communicated over the many years mostly writing at Christmas . We had the good fortune of visiting each other in the past on Staten Island and Alexandria, VA with our families. He was a soldier’s soldier. He wouldn’t have his men do anything that he would not do himself. He will be sorely missed by all who served with him.
Pat Scarpato (formerly First Platoon Leader “E” Co., 65th Inf. Regt.)