Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Katie Burke (1953–) Biography - Personal to Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) Biography » Richard E. Cavazos: 1929—: U.S. Army General Biography - Became U.s. Army's First Hispanic General, Repeatedly Recognized For His Military Achievements

Richard E. Cavazos: 1929—: U.S. Army General - Became U.s. Army's First Hispanic General

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Following the Korean War, Cavazos joined the 1st Armored Division as an executive officer. In 1957 he returned to his alma mater, Texas Technological University, where he worked as an ROTC instructor. His next post was in West Germany as an operations officer at the U.S. Army's European headquarters. Meanwhile Cavazos continued his military training. He attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the British Army Staff College, and the United States Armed Forces Staff College where he graduated in 1965. By this time the Vietnam War was underway and in February of 1967, Cavazos—who had since achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel—was appointed commander of the 1st Battalion of the 18th Infantry Division. In September and October of that year, Cavazos' unit engaged in heavy sporadic fighting near the border of Cambodia culminating in a ferocious two-day assault—now known as the Battle of Loc Ninh—during which the 1st Battalion lost five soldiers. In contrast, the enemy troops suffered over 100 deaths. For his personal actions during these battles Cavazos received his second Distinguished Service Cross.

With his tour of duty in Vietnam complete, Cavazos returned stateside and resumed his peace time career path with fervor. He became the director of concept studies at the U.S. Army Combat Developments Command Institute and in 1969 completed additional military training at the Army's famed War College. His next post was from 1970 to 1971 at Kansas's Fort Leavenworth where he served as the chief of the Offense Section in the Department of Division Operations at the Army Command and General Staff College. In the early 1970s Cavazos held several positions including assistant deputy director of operations at the Pentagon, defense attaché in Mexico, and director of the Inter-American Region, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. In 1976, 25 years after receiving his military commission, Cavazos was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and pinned one gleaming star on his uniform lapel. In doing so, he became the first Hispanic general in the Army and a role model for the thousands of minority recruits who join the military each year.

Cavazos' first post after becoming a general was as assistant division commander of the 2nd Armored Division. He then assumed a larger leadership role as commander of the 2nd Brigade in the 1st Infantry Division. In 1977 he took over the top spot of the 9th Infantry Division. One of the officers in this division at that time was H. Norman Schwarzkopf who was appointed to brigadier general under Cavazos.

Schwarzkopf later went on to military fame as the commander of U.S. forces in Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Iraq. Meanwhile Cavazos continued moving up in rank and by 1978 he was promoted to major general. In 1980 he became the commander of III Corps based in Fort Lewis, Washington. Cavazos' final military post was overseeing the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). He assumed this role in 1982, the same year that he received his fourth star, becoming a full general. According to the website of the Fort Leavenworth Hall of Fame, at FORSCOM Cavazos' "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." Under his command at FORSCOM, combat troops were deployed to Grenada, West Indies, in 1983. On June 17, 1984, after a brilliant military career that spanned three decades, Cavazos retired with his wife and four children to Texas.


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