Killeen is located southwest of Waco and west of Temple on US 190 where it passes through Ft. Hood.
In Bell County, it is home of the University of Central Texas campus.
The town grew through the 1960s, especially after the Vietnam War led to increased activity at Fort Hood.
By 1980, when the census counted 49,307 people in Killeen, it was the largest city in Bell County. In the late 1980s the city launched a public-relations campaign designed to entice tourists to the area by redefining the popular image of a military town: "Tanks for the Memories" became Killeen's official slogan. By 1990 its population had increased to 63,535, and 255,301 people lived in the Killeen metropolitan area.