FORT HOOD – As Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, prepared to unveil the new Phantom Warrior statue Tuesday at the III Corps headquarters, those in attendance grew anxious for the reveal.
"This is just like Christmas Day when all the children are gathered to see what is in the packages," Lynch said.
The youngest member of III Corps, Pvt. Ulysses Casanas, 18, helped Lynch unveil the statue. The Phantom Warrior is a three-dimensional, life-size sculpture depicting a Shire draft horse with a dark and imposing 6-foot, 6-inch rider weighing about 250 pounds.
The Phantom Warrior consists of two components. The base section weighs about 625 pounds and the horse is about 900 pounds. The inspiration for the statue came about when Gen. Crosbie Saint assumed command of III Corps and Fort Hood in 1985. He wanted to provide a critical symbol to convey his vision of the heavy maneuver force.
In April 1986, an agreement between artist Frank Frazetta and Saint allowed III Corps to use "The Death Dealer" as a III Corps symbol. "The Death Dealer" was Frazetta's iconic 1973 fantasy painting. The figure was referred to as the "Phantom Warrior" and has served as the III Corps symbol for nearly 23 years.
"The statue depicts a menacing armor-clad warrior with a horned helmet, whose facial features are obscured by shadow, atop a horse, holding a bloody ax and shield. The figure has served as a III Corps symbol," Lynch said.
During the unveiling ceremony many distinguished guests and military service members were present.
"This statue represents something important. It is an honor to be here on this special day," said Pfc. Whatley Cortez of III Corps' Special Troops Battalion.
"I have been to ceremonies, but nothing quite like this one," said Pfc. Bryan Jesse of III Corps' Special Troops Battalion.
Lynch re-emphasized the Phantom Warrior as part of a comprehensive strategic communications plan to reinforce and reinvigorate the meaning and identity of the heavy maneuver force to its soldiers, the Army, the Central Texas community and nation.
"This statue was determined to be placed in this room because it is in close proximity of our Fort Hood neighbors and it is the home to our heroes in Fort Hood," Lynch said.
In May 2009, Deep in the Heart Foundry was commissioned to build a Phantom Warrior statue by the Frazetta family.
"This is a life-size statue that represents an empowering image. This is a reflection of what we do as American Warriors," Lynch said.
Col. Dan Garcia, deputy chief of staff, was awarded with a coin of gratitude for helping with the project.
After the Phantom Warrior Statue was unveiled, the opening of the Phantom Warrior Room followed. The Phantom Warrior Room is monument to the past, present and future glory of III Corps.
Lynch also recognized Sandra Skinner from Ashley Furniture in Killeen with a plaque of gratitude for donating furniture to the Phantom Warrior Room.
"This can be a place where they youngsters, families, visitors and heroes can celebrate the history of III Corps. It is a place designed for all of us," Lynch said.
Contact Ide Lehner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7567.