Posted on May 25, 2022

Naming Commission Identifies New Names for Army Posts Named for Confederates

Ben Wolfgang and Mike Glenn, Washington Times, May 24, 2022

North Carolina’s storied Fort Bragg Army base should be renamed “Fort Liberty,” a congressional commission recommended Tuesday in a significant step forward for the Pentagon’s two-year push to purge from the U.S. military any links to the Confederacy and its most high-profile generals.

The commission, which has its roots in the months of nationwide racial unrest stemming from the May 2020 death of George Floyd, said eight other Army installations tied to Confederate leaders also should be given new names. Well-known installations such as Georgia’s Fort Benning and Texas’ Fort Hood, named after Confederate Gens. Henry Lewis Benning and John Bell Hood, should be renamed, the panel said.

Fort Hood should become Fort Cavazos, after Gen. Richard Cavazos, the Army’s first Hispanic four-star general, according to the panel, which recommended that Fort Benning become Fort Moore to honor Army Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, who was played by Mel Gibson in the Vietnam War movie “We Were Soldiers.”

Fort Liberty, meanwhile, would replace Fort Bragg, named after Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg.

The recommendations Tuesday from the congressional panel, commonly known as the Naming Commission, are not final. The commission will submit a report to Congress by Oct. 1, with final approval by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Federal law requires that the names be changed by Jan. 1, 2024, but the new monikers could be implemented earlier. The issue is seen to be a top priority for Mr. Austin, the nation’s first Black military chief, who has made racial justice and anti-extremism central pieces of his agenda.


Advocacy groups and critics have argued for years that the military should sever its ties to the Confederacy. The issue came to the forefront in the summer of 2020, in the immediate aftermath of the death of George Floyd, a Black man, during his arrest by Minnesota police. {snip}

That incident, and the racial justice protests that followed, seemed to spark a rapid shift in attitudes at the highest levels of the U.S. military. In July 2020 testimony before Congress, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley offered a blunt take on why soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines would be deeply offended by the names Fort Bragg, Fort Hood or other installations honoring Confederates.

“In the Army, for example … we’re up to 20-plus percent African American, and in some units, you’ll see 30%. And for those young soldiers who go on to a base, a Fort Hood or a Fort Bragg or wherever, named after a Confederate general, they can be reminded that general fought for an institution of slavery that may have enslaved one of their ancestors,” Gen. Milley said.


The recommendations are hardly the end of the story. Some lawmakers seem dissatisfied with the suggested name changes and say the Pentagon can and must go further.