The man who became the Army’s first Hispanic four-star general died on Sunday.

Richard Edward Cavazos, 88, died in the Army Residence Community in San Antonio, Texas, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. He is survived by his wife, Caroline.

Cavazos grew up on King Ranch with his mother and his father, who was a World War I veteran and foreman of the ranch’s Santa Gertrudis cattle division, according to the newspaper.

The general commissioned in 1951 after graduating from Texas Technological University, according to the Association of the United States Army.

Cavazos served in the Korean War as a lieutenant with the 65th Infantry Regiment. He then served in Vietnam as a lieutenant colonel, leading a battalion of soldiers into battle.

In 1976, he became the first Hispanic brigadier general, according to AUSA.

He was awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses, a Silver Star, two Legion of Merit awards, five Bronze Stars with valor, a Purple Heart, a Combat Infantry Badge and a Parachutist Badge, according to the paper.

According to his citation, Cavazos showed extraordinary heroism in Korea, when he led his company through three assaults on enemy positions.

In Vietnam, Cavazos was commander of 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry when he exposed himself to hostile fire while directing a counterattack during a search-and-destroy mission, according to AUSA.

In 1982, Cavazos became the first Hispanic soldier to pin on four stars.

Cavazos retired from the Army in 1984 and was inducted into Fort Leavenworth’s Command and General Staff College Hall of Fame in 1993.

He will be buried in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio on Nov. 14, according to AUSA.

Charlsy is a Reporter and Engagement Manager for Military Times. Email her at

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