NewsFaces of Fort Cavazos


Faces of Fort Cavazos: Tom Rheinlander retiring after 44 years of service to the nation

Posted: 6:42 PM, Jan 10, 2024
Updated: 2024-01-10 19:42:47-05

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Knowing what's happening on the other side of the Fort Cavazos gates is important for the community, on and off post.

That’s where Tom Rheinlander retired U.S. Army veteran and soon to be retired Director of Fort Cavazos Public Affairs, comes in.

He’s a proud servant to his country and his story begins right here in Texas.

”Born in New Braunfels, right down the road between Austin and San Antonio,” Rheinlander said.

“I went to Texas A&M.”

While at A&M, the Army came knocking.

”They dangled flight school in front of me, and I was in the ROTC program,” Rheinlader said.

“They said 'Hey, join the Army and go to flight school' — I went 'Okay, sounds like a good idea'."

After years of flying, he decided it was time for a change, and he had already gotten a taste of the public affairs life.

”There’s a point as a commissioned officer withing aviation, that you're not going to fly very much anymore as you rise up in the leadership ranks,” Rheinlander said.

He went on to play a key role in media relations in the Army and as a civilian.

After being in the Pentagon when it what attacked on 9/11, he helped run the press briefing.

When the man behind the Fort Hood mass shooting 2009 was convicted, he was there too, doing all he could to get the information to public.

”There’s always more to the story that may be first reported in social media,” Rheinlander said.

“Where the individuals have the opportunity to tell the rest of the story.”

After telling the Army story for much of his 25 years in uniform and the two decades that followed, it was time for another change — retirement.

”I’m looking forward to it,” Rheinlander said.

“Everybody's got to do it at some point in time, and you have to have time to enjoy it.”

Tom Rheinlander has been serving his country for more than four decades, and he says the next chapter will be filled with family and traveling the world to see places the military didn’t take him.