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Mounted Warfare Foundation holds Homecoming for Heroes VI


Cove Leader-Press 

The National Mounted Warfare Foundation held its annual Homecoming for Heroes Gala in the newly finished National Mounted Warrior Museum Saturday evening. 

Saturday’s gala marked the first time the event has been held since 2019 and drew approximately 480 attendees. Tickets for the event sold out ahead of the event. 

This year’s gala offered guests an up-close look at the museum prior to it being filled with any exhibits. Construction on the first phase of the museum was completed in December 2021, more than a year after the groundbreaking ceremony which was held in November 2020. 

The museum is not officially open to the public, but those interested in a guided tour can reach out to the National Mounted Warfare Foundation. The Fort Hood Museum team is working to do a soft opening of the National Mounted Warrior Museum this summer, with temporary exhibits, but the permanent exhibits will not be in place until Summer 2023, which is when the museum will have its Grand Opening. 

This year marked the sixth year of the Homecoming for Heroes Gala, which has served as the primary fundraiser for the National Mounted Warfare Foundation and subsequently the National Mounted Warrior Museum. 

“This is a monumental day for this community, for Fort Hood and for our Foundation, because this is the first major event being held here in the National Mounted Warrior Museum, and we’re fortunate that right now, we don’t have exhibits in place, so we have the space to invite 480 of our friends to come in and sell out an opportunity to really celebrate what this museum is all about and that’s the soldiers,” said National Mounted Warfare Foundation Vice President Bob Crouch. 

Crouch said that having the first phase of the museum finished and available for the public to view, and having 480 people in attendance, was humbling. 

“We started this project in 2011, and there’s been highs and lows,” Crouch said. “It’s been a roller coaster at times, and some folks didn’t think we could make this happen, and now that it’s here and we’re getting to really show it to the public, it’s a pretty powerful thing.”

As guests walked through the front doors, they were welcomed into the rotunda for a social hour before being invited to view a live demonstration by the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment across the field in the demonstration ring at the 1st Cav stables. Guests then enjoyed their selection of cuisine from four different areas of the world: German, Korean, Mediterranean (Greek, Italy, Turkey) and American. 

U.S. Rep. John Carter, of the 31st Congressional District of Texas, was one of the special guests at Saturday’s gala, and he shared a few words regarding the new museum. 

“We’re honoring some warriors that go back all the way to those horses outside,” Carter said. “This is the real world of war fighting, and we’ve always been a country that stands up and fights and wins. We do that because our industry gives us the tools we need to win tonight and every night, and so it’s a partnership between the Army or the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, whoever may be, between those who provide the materials necessary for war fighting and those who fight the wars.”

This year’s gala featured a special presentation of donations to the National Mounted Warfare Foundation, for the museum, in the amount of $250,000 from General Dynamics and $1 million from H-E-B. 

H-E-B’s group vice president of public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs, Winell Herron took to the stage as one of many speakers to express H-E-B’s support for the museum and the National Mounted Warfare Foundation. H-E-B is a long-standing sponsor of the foundation and served as this year’s Title Sponsor for the Homecoming for Heroes VI Gala. 

“At H-E-B, we couldn’t be more prouder to support this effort, and of the incredible work and also the people that are going to learn about their history, the children that are going to learn about their history as a result of this museum,” Herron said. 

Herron also shared that H-E-B, as part of its Operation Appreciation, would be donating $1 million to the National Mounted Warfare Foundation. 

This donation will be going towards education/classroom support at the museum. Phase II of the Museum includes adding several classrooms and adding a second exhibit and an amphitheater to the back of the building, as well as more parking for the museum, according to Crouch. 

During this year’s gala, four JROTC cadets were awarded a scholarship to help them further their education and career in the Army, among them Ryan Bithorn, a student at Copperas Cove High School, along with Franki Alano, of Killeen High School; Sean Flanagan from James Madison High School; and Everett Hind. 

Three young men, one from Lampasas High School and two Harker Heights School, also took their Oath of Enlistment, administered by Gen. Paul E. Funk II, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Commanding General, in front of the crowd of 480 attendees, who gave a riotous round of applause after they finished. 

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