Sophie Mann, Daily Mail, October 7, 2022
The US Department of Defense has announced it will rename the nine US military bases that bear named of officers of the Confederacy.
The effort will cost the American taxpayers $62.5 million and likely begin early next year.
On Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gave the official nod of approval to put into action the final recommendations made by the renaming commission, which included recommendations to alter upward of 1,000 installations and facilities, including the nine major Army bases, that were originally named after leaders of the Confederacy.
The nine Army bases that will soon bear new names are Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Polk, Louisiana; and Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Pickett, and Fort Lee in Virginia.
The Naming Commission released a list of potential new names for the bases back in May, names that included ‘Fort Eisenhower’ for Fort Gordon and ‘Fort Liberty’ for Fort Bragg, among others.
The renaming will likely begin in December or the new year, following a congressionally-mandated 90-day waiting period.
Former President Donald Trump previously took a strong stance against the idea of renaming Confederate bases, going so far as to threaten to veto the Defense Spending bill in order to prevent the move from happening.
In 2020, he pushed Congressional Republicans to refrain from voting for an amendment introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to strip the bases of their Confederate monikers.
Republicans in Congress, as well as some who worked for Trump in the White House disagreed with his position and came out in favor of renaming the bases and other US installations named after leaders of the Confederacy.
‘The installations and facilities that our Department operates are more than vital national security assets. They are also powerful public symbols of our military, and of course, they are the places where our Service members and their families work and live,’ said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
‘The names of these installations and facilities should inspire all those who call them home, fully reflect the history and the values of the United States, and commemorate the best of the republic that we are all sworn to protect,’ he added.
The plan to rename the forts and other vestiges of Confederate military fighters will ‘will give proud new names that are rooted in their local communities and that honor American heroes whose valor, courage, and patriotism exemplify the very best of the United States military,’ he wrote.
A large handful of army bases were named to honor Confederate generals as US troops trained to enter both world wars, specifically because of a policy that allowed regional commanders to oversee the naming process of the forts.
According to the final of three reports from the renaming commission, the process will cost DoD $62.5 million and will be comprised of renaming more than 1,000 installations and facilities bearing the name of rebel officers.
The committee initially offered a number of recommendations for names to be given to the bases as replacements.
They included World War Two hero Audie Murphy, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and ex-President Dwight Eisenhower, among others.
Murphy, a former US Army soldier, became the most-decorated serviceman of World War Two. Powell was the first black person to serve as Secretary of State, between 2001 and 2005, and died last year.
Eisenhower was a hero World War Two commander who later served as president between 1953 and 1961. He is credited with a series of public works programs – including the Interstate system – that helped transform America into the world’s only hyper-economy.
In the committee’s first report, which was released in early August, the body appeared to have narrowed down the candidates for each fort to one name.
Fort Benning in Georgia, they suggest renaming after Lieutenant General Hal Moore and Julia Moore – heroes of the Korean War who are buried at the fort.
Fort Bragg in North Carolina, they suggest naming ‘in commemoration of the American value of Liberty.’
Fort Gordon in Georgia, they suggest renaming for General of the Army and 34th president of the United States Dwight Eisenhower.
Fort AP Hill in Virginia, they suggest renaming after Dr. Mary Edwards Walker – an abolitionist, prisoner of war and surgeon.
Fort Hood in Texas, they suggest naming after General Richard Cavazos – US Army’s first Hispanic four-star general, who served in the Vietnam War.
Fort Lee, in Virginia, they suggest renaming in commemoration of Lieutenant General Arthur J. Gregg and Lieutenant Commander Charity Adams – respectively, one of the army’s foremost logistics leaders with a nearly four-decade military history, and the first African-American woman to be an officer in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps.
Fort Pickett, in Virginia, the committee has recommended naming after officer Van Thomas Barfoot – a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in World War II.
Fort Polk, in Louisiana, they suggest be renamed to commemorate Sergeant William Henry Johnson – a US Army soldier who became part of the first African American unit in the Army to engage in combat during World War I.
And Fort Rucker, the committee has suggested be renamed after Michael J. Novosel Jr., a medal of honor recipient who flew the B-29 Superfortress bomber in World War II.