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PHANTOM WARRIORS "to the end of battle"
FORT HOOD RUGBY
The first semblance of a club came in the early to mid 1970’s with a group of Samoan players forming a team and playing in the Texas Rugby Union. This was short lived, as they were kicked out of the league for fighting. The Fort Hood RFC was re-formed the summer of 1979 by a crew of ruffians, led by Jerry Williams. He was helped by a large group of West Point grads (Dog, Plug, Stevie Mac, Big Dan, Kent, Dave Ripley, Paul “Bugsy” Moran, Kurt Downs, TC, Mike Stewart, Dave Elliot, Al Eisele, Carter Hendricks, and a few others). They soon adopted the motto “Rugby won’t interfere with your drinking; it will enhance it!”
The Club’s first match was at Fort Sill on Labor Day weekend 1979 as a part of the Fort Sill Girdlestone Rugby Tournament. They played OU & Fort Sill in heavy green jerseys, adding 10 pounds of water in 95 degree heat. Dead Fred, Karl, Dan, Colin, Dooner, Blaine, Terry, Keith Jones, Lynn Moore, Hank Andraziak, Howard Kuschick, Paddy, Plug, and a few others played well. The team’s moderate success brought new players, and so started the team at Fort Hood.
The club’s first home match was shortly after the Girdlestone Tournament and was played across from the 2nd Armor Division HQ. The opening season started with the Ft. Sill tourney and included beating the Reds in Dallas, a Texas A&M 7’s tourney, and a few other matches throughout central Texas.
Fort Hood Rugby found a home on West Fort Hood and adopted the Jerry Williams Memorial field, christening it with a few beers and countless hours of rugby. The first pitch was replaced in 2010 by a day care and playground for the Montague post housing.
The Fort Hood Rugby Club continued into the 80’s with the Wright Patterson Air Base Tourney in Ohio in 1981, matches in Austin, Dallas, Houston and the greater part of central Texas, followed by parties, elephant walks, and general mischief. The team stuck together through a few court martial appearances, a jump from atop a juke box, proper bomb runs with a dime, song and drink at the O Club and many other “good” times that shall remain stricken from the records.
During the mid-1980’s, the Fort Hood RFC maintained a healthy rivalry with Fort Sill and Shreveport RFC. The West Fort Hood pitch was maintained and used regularly, but only hosted three home matches. The team was able to continue attending the Military Nationals, with help from Fort Hood & Fort Hood MWR. One trip to the Military Nationals at Fort Stewart, GA involved a rented Winnebago RV (with major discount) from MWR for the road trip (no wives/girl friends allowed). The entire team traveled in the RV and trail U-Haul box truck that carried kits, refreshments, food, drunk ruggers and rugger huggers. The matches were split evenly, but the highlight was picking up a match with USMC squad. Definitely a brutal affair and needless to say the RV did not fare well with the constant partying. Upon return to Fort Hood a major statement of charges was levied on Hood RFC by MWR. All was put to rest when BG “Doc” Bonson (our new savior) said MWR is getting all new RVs drop the charges.
Another highlight in the 1984-87 timeline, was the 1st Cav vs 2nd AD post championship match at Hood Stadium sponsored by Miller Lite and Coors with Doc Bonson as MC. The non-division players were split between the two division teams. Both Miller and Coors had 30 foot blow up beer cans on the field and provided bottomless kegs. Since they were bottomless, the second half and result of the match is a little fuzzy…it may have ended in a draw.
As the years passed, the team continued to cycle through players. Players PCS’d, moved on, came and went. The club continued competition in the Texas Rugby Union on into the 1990’s, and did fairly well into the turn of the century. They competed in the Military Nationals, Mudfish Tourney, & Bloodfest. Thanks to the efforts of Daniel Boyd, Dave Waldron, Gil Clapper, Doug Dietz, Tim Marshall, Todd Kearns, Matt Jesop, Mongo, Scott Bailey, and many others.
As it is with everything else, 9/11 affected the Fort Hood RFC. As units from Hood deployed, returned and re-deployed, the continuity of the club sputtered and then faded. The Jerry Williams Memorial Field on West Fort Hood has since transitioned into a day care center and playground. The Fort Hood MWR did save the red uniforms and the scrum sled, which was later re-welded, re-painted & new pads added.
Turn the clock forward to 2010. A group of ruggers stationed at Hood started passing the ball around, getting organized and looking to compete. Fort Hood MWR and DRASH was kind enough to provide our kit and off to Military Nationals at Ft. Benning we went. Although we didn't take first, we had a decent showing and started the Ft. Hood Phantom Warrior Rugby club again...
The 2010 season had a few milestones in it, from receiving a budget to our new pitch (with uprights) off of HWY 190 to the receipt of our Container proudly labeling our Pitch. We had the first annual Hood Howdy in September and a good showing on a rock filled pitch. We played in a few tournaments throughout the season, but never had enough steam to become a member of TRU.
2010-2013 was full of ups and downs with continual support from a core few ruggers, but it was not until mid-2013 when we started moving in the right direction. We added a few key players and got the team moved up to the next level.
Summer 2013 we added a new player-coach and have started moving towards our first season in TRU. We hosted a referee course in the winter of 2014 and have a solid batch of players and supporters.
In January of 2016, retired Army rugger, Wayne Broom took the reigns and the team missed the playoffs in 2016 by one try. The field on 190 was taken from the club over a contractual misunderstanding, but Monty Campbell of MWR kept the club functioning at the highest level by providing a new kit and lined, Ft. Hood Stadium pitch. Alpha male leaders from all walks of life at Ft. Hood eventually find their way to the pitch, and the history continues to develop.
Who we are
Established in 1972, The Fort Hood Rugby Football Club is the rugby program for the greater Fort Hood, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Belton, and Temple, Texas area. We are part of the U.S. Army Moral Welfare and Recreation program, but are open to service members and non-service members, alike. We are a member of the Texas Rugby Union and compete in numerous events around the country year round. We have both... a men's program and are currently in the process of re-building our women's program.