Fort Hood is celebrating its 70th anniversary.
Juanita Faucett is among the few who can say she saw the beginnings of Fort Hood. Seven decades ago Tuesday, Faucett was there to see Fort Hood --known then as Camp Hood, officially open.
"When Fort Hood came, it changed our lives completely," Faucett said. "If I would’ve known, had any idea that it was going to be like this I would have paid attention. I would have watched what was going on, but you know, I'd never been around the Army in my life, and I thought, ‘Oh well, this is just a passing fleeting thing. When the war is over it will all be gone.’"
The change didn't come without major sacrifice for many families, including Faucett's. Ranchers and farmers had to sell their land so the post could be built.
"It was a mass exodus when Fort Hood came, a mass exodus. We had to move out and were given about, some of those people, 90 days to do it,” she said.
Today, many people are moving into the surrounding communities because of Fort Hood.
"We have enjoyed tremendous economic growth here in the civilian community in the last ten years. That is all due to the Army being here. We know that. We are them, and they are us," Former Harker Heights Mayor Ed Mullen said.
Currently, 84,000 soldiers and their families as well as civilians are stationed at the post.
"The future is tremendously bright. In fact, Fort Hood could probably absorb more troops in the future. I believe the Army will look very favorably, as will the department of defense as they may deliberations during the next round of Base Realignment and Closures," Fort Hood Commander Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell said.
For Faucett, the story of Fort Hood has been a glory story, a Cinderella story.
“It's been nothing but progress from the very beginning," she said.
Fort Hood officials say in the future, they hope to commemorate the post's birthday every year through a week of events known as 'Phantom Warrior Week'. This year the week was celebrated in May.