This Air Force Veteran Wants To Rename Fort Hood For Texas Veteran Roy Benavidez

Jorge Haynes started a petition to rename Fort Hood for Benavidez, a Green Beret who earned five Purple Hearts.

By Michael MarksJune 16, 2020 3:02 pm, ,

Confederate monuments are being removed, amidst of protests against police violence and racism against black Americans. Some are also calling for changes to other memorials, including the Fort Hood military base in Killeen, which was named for a Confederate general.

Air Force veteran Jorge Haynes, started a petition calling for the renaming of the base for Green Beret, Master Sgt. Roy Benavidez, who earned five Purple Hearts after serving in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

U.S. Army/Public Domain

Green Beret, Master Sgt. Roy Benavidez.

Haynes told Texas Standard host David Brown on Tuesday that it’s time for the government to reconsider who it memorializes.

“Maybe it’s time to look at some of these other heroes that are more contemporary that we can relate to, and that fought to defend this county,” Haynes said.

He knew Benavidez, and said he “carried with him the scars of war,” both physically and mentally. In one instance in Vietnam, Benavidez risked his life when he saved multiple people from the battlefield and put them into a medevac helicopter. Te was also injured and being shot at. Haynes said Benavidez likely would have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and he used pain medication to deal with his physical injuries and trauma.

Veterans from Haynes’ local League of United Latin American Citizens council in Laredo had talked for some time about memorializing Benavides. When chatter about renaming military bases restarted, they thought it might be a good time to petition for the renaming of Fort Hood. Haynes said the initiative wasn’t intended to send a message about Confederate memorials.

“We were looking at it in terms of, here’s a great guy that deserves a little more recognition than he’s gotten,” Hayes said.

President Donald Trump has not yet appeared willing to rename any military bases. Haynes said even it Fort Hood’s name doesn’t change, he started has a conversation. He said Benavidez is just one of many veterans who have been overlooked, including the Buffalo Soldiers, the Tuskegee Airmen and Japanese-American veterans whose parents were sent to internment camps during World War II.

Web story by Caroline Covington.

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