Colonel John T. Hodes, U.S. Army (Ret.)

October 8, 1926April 9, 2012

Col. Hodes (Ret), a Korean War Veteran and Purple Heart recipient, passed away on Monday, April 9th, 2012 at his home near Austin, Texas. He was 85. Col. Hodes is a graduate of the Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1949. He served 30 years of active duty, including Korea, Germany, and Vietnam. ”Jack”, as he was known to his friends, was born at Fort Laramie, near Cheyenne, Wyoming and grew up in an Army family.

Jack was predeceased by his parents Gen. and Mrs. Henry I. Hodes and his sister Jean Hodes Quereau, of San Antonio.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Alma Russ Hodes, a sister, Laura Celeste Fry (Little Rock, Arkansas) and eight children: Russ Hodes, Laurinda Poisson (Aptos, California), Hank Hodes, Priscilla Sabol (Smithville), Mary Engel (San Mateo, California), John T. Hodes, Jr. (Las Vegas, Nevada), Jennifer Manweiler, and Timothy Hodes (Tampa, Florida). A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday April 12, 2012 at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 4800 Convict Hill Road in Austin, Texas 78749. Col. Hodes will be interred at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, on Monday, April 16th, 2012 in a private ceremony.

During his 30 year Army career, he commanded American troops in Korea, in West Germany, during the Cold War, and again in Vietnam. He attended the Staff and Command School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and the Air Force War College in Montgomery, Alabama, where he earned a Master’s Degree in International Relations. His favorite commands were with the 101st Airborne Division, where he loved paratrooper jumping and earning a senior parachute rating. He was attached to the 1st Calvary during the Korean War and later served as President of the First Calvary Association at Fort Hood, Texas. Col. Hodes served three consecutive tours in South Vietnam. He helped lead the Vietnamese Pacification program before leaving South Vietnam. After the war, he kept in touch with his Vietnamese interpreter and supported him and his family. At Fort Hood, Colonel Hodes founded and helped build the first recreational horse stable at West Fort Hood and later the much larger stables that the Army Horse Cavalry uses today. After he retired, he organized and founded the Fort Hood First Calvary Museum and the memorial commemorating fallen soldiers from the Korean War and Vietnam. After retiring in Killeen, Texas, he went back to college in Austin where he earned his teaching certificate from the University of Mary Harden Baylor. He then taught math courses at Ellison High School in Killeen. Col. Hodes’ favorite sports were gymnastics at West Point and competitive tennis for most of his life. He loved golf; he sponsored his sons in professional motocross racing for a number of years. He learned to fly recreationally and as often as possible in his duties, particularly in Vietnam.

Col. Hodes’ military awards include: The Army of Occupation Medal (German); Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; National Defense Service Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster); Senior Parachutist Badge; Korean Service Medal ( 4 bronze stars); United Nations Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medial (1 Silver and 2 Bronze service stars); Glider Badge; Combat Infantryman Badge, 2nd Award; Army General Staff Identification Badge; Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry (w/ Gold star); World War II, Victory Medal; Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry (w/ Palm); Vietnamese Rural Revolutionary Republic Vietnamese Armed Forces Honor Medal, First Class; and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation. John was an active Catholic who enjoyed service work with the St. Vincent DePaul Society. At one time, he and his wife fostered children in their home. He was an active member of St. Catherine’s of Siena Catholic Church in Austin, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make donations to the St. Vincent DePaul Society Chapter at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church.


  • Memorial Mass Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Colonel John T. Hodes, U.S. Army (Ret.)

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April 22, 2012

Dearest Alma.
God bless you and the children.I am devasted to know Jack has passed. Jack and his father were my idols and I tried to be a good NCO in my tewnty-four years of service. Jack Taylor

April 20, 2012

Alma - I was a friend of Jack, although not a close one. Jack and I were seat mates on the train ride from Camp Drake to Sasebo, Japan, on tthe way to Korea; and later I was honored that he asked me to participate in your wedding procedures at Ft. Bliss. He was a great guy! You have my sympathies at your lose. Jim Whitmarsh

April 18, 2012

Alma - Clara and I grieve with you. Jack was a classmate, an honored close friend and a true professional. - Clay and Clara Buckingham

April 17, 2012

Well done, Jack, be thou at peace. Your West Point Class of 1949 classmates (San Antonio, TX)

jack Hammack

April 17, 2012

Your Husband was a great man. A true son of West Point and a credit to our class. Jack Hammack

William Wilson

April 14, 2012

Dear Mrs. Hodes and family,

Please accept our deepest sympathy on the loss of Colonel Hodes. We served under his command and with both of you in the 2d Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY 1964-65. He dispatched A Troop to Vietnam in 1965 and I was the young First Lieutenant in command. He was a strong commander who took care of his Soldiers and led by example. We became far better Soldiers because of his leadership and caring.

I still have some photos of Colonel Hodes inspecting A Troop prior to our departure for Vietnam.

My wife and I, as well as those who served under his command during those years, know that a true Soldier and combat leader no longer stands with us, but we know he still stands vigilent watching over "his troopers." May this grand man and extraordinary Officer rest forever in peace. All who knew him pass in reivew in one final salute.

William R. Wilson and Judith
Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret)

john hodes jr

April 13, 2012

god bless
john hodes jr

Dannie Hefner

April 13, 2012

I taught with John at Ellison High School. He was a great teacher and was loved and respected by all the students. He influenced the lives of many young men and women. We are all better off because we knew him. May God bless and console you in this time of sorrow.

Sylvia Sullivan

April 12, 2012

Mary, it is difficult to find the appropriate words to express my condolences. I can certainly relate to the feelings of loss and overwhelming emotions we feel in our hearts when our parents leave this place and begin their journey "Home". My father was my hero but it sounds like your father was the hero of many. After spending the past 31 yrs working for Veterans Affairs I am certainly touched and thankful for your Fathers service to our country. His life is a wonderful example of honor, commitment and heroism. You are in my thought as well as the thoughts of many of you fellow VA employees.

April 11, 2012

Tim - you and your family are in our prayers.

Joe Jones & and the Adams family.