KILLEEN, TX — Several military bases named after confederate generals, including Fort Hood, are getting a name change sometime next year.
Thousands of soldiers have served at Fort Hood and feel a lifelong connection to the installation but, not because of its name.
"Duty stations are not what make the soldier. It's the leadership. It’s the experience of what you try to accomplish while you are at that station,” said Dorothea Goodson, retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant, formerly stationed at Fort Hood.
Operation Phantom Support is a nonprofit organization dedicated to veterans and now hopes to keep the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice alive, now that the new name change is coming.
"We are looking to build a memorial to house all the names of all the fallen soldiers at Fort Hood,” said John Valentine. Founder and CEO of Operation Phantom support.
Though Killeen has other monuments dedicated to fallen soldiers...having one with the names of those who died while stationed at Fort Hood is unique.
"Someplace where people can visit and specifically see those names. Even though we have several across this community, another one would remind us that all gave some and some gave all,” said Goodson.
Giving all doesn’t mean that they had to die in combat.
"Whether it was in combat, an unfortunate accident, or some bad thing, but they died while they were here. We want to be able to memorialize them in a way that people will always remember that this is the base they were at, at the time, and this is them,” said Valentine.
The name change is a controversial topic but OPS said this memorial has nothing to do with the politics of changing the name.
"So, for me and a lot of the veterans I've talked to about this, it’s not about the political part of this. It’s not about the name change. It’s more about the legacy of that soldier. When he passed away, where was he, what unit was he in, what division was he in, what base was he was at,” said Valentine.
The nonprofit is asking the public for support with its memorial, to honor the lives lost but not forgotten.
If you would like to donate to the memorial project or any of Operation Phantom Support’s assistance programs, you can do so at phantomsupport.org.