Nine military bases will be renamed in the coming months to remove all traces of Confederate leaders. After the Naming Commission formed by several experts proposed several alternatives to rename these Army buildings, the changes, little by little, are coming into effect.
It was the committee itself that, in 2021, proposed changing the name of these bases in order to, as recalled by Axios, remove all "names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia" honoring the Confederacy. A year later, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, issued a statement ordering that these military buildings be renamed by the end of 2023.
Implementation of the Namin... by VozMedia
Several bases to be named in honor of World War II veterans
Since then, the bases have begun to change their names. The first to make the change was Fort Pickett (Blackstone, Virginia) which, as of this March, became Fort Barfoot. The new name, according to The New York Times, is in honor of Colonel Van Barfoot, a "World War II hero and a Medal of Honor recipient."
Fort Rucker, Alabama, will be the next base to receive a new name. In the case of this military aviation training headquarters, reports News 4, the new name will come into effect on April 10. Thereafter, the base will be be known as Fort Novosel. The name is in honor of Warrant Officer Michael Novosel Senior, a World War II veteran who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. In fact, he received a Medal of Honor for the latter war when, reports the specialist site Military reports, he flew "his helicopter into heavy gunfire during 15 medical evacuations in a single battle, saving 29 soldiers."
Fort Polk, Louisiana, will serve to honor a soldier who was slow to receive recognition for his heroism in World War II. William Henry Johnson will be the veteran whose name will be used for the Louisiana base which, at an undetermined date but before the end of the year, will be renamed Fort Johnson. This tribute will serve as redemption for the Army's failure to award a Medal of Honor to this soldier until 2015.
Women, blacks and Hispanics also represented in new denomination
April will also be the month that Fort Lee (Virginia) will be renamed Fort Gregg-Adams. That will occur on April 27. It will be named, according to ABC News, in honor of two pioneering black officers. The first black soldier to become a three-star decorated general for his work in logistics, Arthur Gregg, who is still alive today; and the first black officer in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, Charity Adams.
Fort Hood, the main Army base in Texas, will change its name May 9. According to a press release issued by the same base, that will be the day on which it will be renamed Fort Cavazos. Its new name is in honor of the first Hispanic brigadier general, the first of his race to earn four stars, General Richard Cavazos.
Two days later, Fort Benning (Georgia) will change its name to Fort Moore, in honor of both General Hal Moore, and his wife Julie. The general, according to the specialized portal, Military, led the "1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, in the legendary Battle of Ia Drang Valley in 1965." A conflict on which the book and subsequent film We Were Soldiers is based.
Women will also be honored. Fort A.P. Hill (Virginia) will be renamed Fort Walker. Its new name, which is not known when it will come into effect, will be given to honor Mary Walker, a women's rights activist and physician who, ABC News states, "received the Medal of Honor for her service during the Civil War."
A president and freedom, also on military bases
Georgia will be the state in which one of its bases goes on to have a presidential name. Thus, Fort Gordon will be renamed Fort Eisenhower, in honor of General and later President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The military man, ABC News recalls, "led all allied forces in Europe during World War II and later became president."
The last base to change its name will be Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In this case, the new name will not be adopted in homage to military personalities. It will be that of a concept, one that defines the United States: freedom. This designation, reports ABC, was proposed following a meeting of senior military commanders and members of the community. Thus, Fort Bragg will be renamed Fort Liberty by popular vote on June 2.
The name, officials said in a statement, will serve to unify the military base with the community: "The word conveys the aspiration of all who serve and has special significance to Fort Bragg units and the surrounding community."