Closing a Chapter of History, Last Army Base Ditches Confederate Namesake Following Years-Long Effort
Steve Beynon, Military.com, October 27, 2023
The Army on Friday redesignated the last of nine installations that had been named after Civil War-era Confederates, completing a process that began nearly three years ago with an order from Congress.
The final base, previously known as Fort Gordon after a Confederate lieutenant general, was renamed Fort Eisenhower during a ceremony Friday on the base’s parade field. The new namesake, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, served as the supreme allied commander in Europe during World War II, and also signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 — the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction — while in the White House, according to his presidential library.
The ceremony closes a chapter of history for the Army and the bases, many of which have played key military roles for generations. The scrubbing of Confederate tributes became a bipartisan effort in Congress following racial unrest across the U.S., including outcry over the police killing of George Floyd. The legislation was carried out by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — the first Black person to hold the top post — over the past year as the military seeks to be more inclusive.
Fort Cavazos in Texas, formerly Fort Hood, was renamed after a Texan who became the first Hispanic four-star general. Fort Moore in Georgia, known before as Fort Benning, took its name from Hal Moore, who fought in the battle of Ia Drang Valley during the Vietnam War, and his wife Julia, who helped develop the military’s casualty notification process and survivor support teams.
“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,” Austin said in October 2022, when he ordered the renaming process to begin.