The proposed names include women, African Americans, Native Americans and Latino service members, a nod to the various ranks that the U.S. military has benefited from over the years. However, the Commission also recommended renaming a few of the bases after white men.
The Names Commission proposed changing the name of Fort AP Hill, named after a Confederate general, to Fort Walker. Dr. Mary Walker was the Army’s first female surgeon and was eventually awarded the Medal of Honor for her service during the Civil War.
Fort Polk of Louisiana, also named after a Confederate general, could become Fort Johnson in honor of Sgt. William Henry Johnson. The African-American soldier is considered one of the first heroes of World War I, after he fought alone against about two dozen Germans and killed at least four. He was later posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the world, could be named Fort Liberty, according to the commission’s recommendations, the only facility named after a US value instead of an individual or a group of people.
The renaming of bases with Confederate monikers became a hot political issue in the last months of the Trump administration, when then-President Donald Trump blew up the idea and accused others of wanting to “throw these names away.”
Trump had vetoed the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which included the Names Commission, but in the waning days of his administration, Congress vetoed his first and only veto during his tenure and approved the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The Names Commission obtained proposals for possible new names for U.S. Army bases through a public website. They received more than 34,000 submissions to possible names to rename the bases, Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, the U.S. Army’s retiree, deputy chairman of the Names Commission, said during a roundtable discussion Tuesday.
From the 34,000 proposals, the Commission narrowed the list to 3,670 names as possible candidates, then down to 87 and finally to the list of recommendations they issued today.
“Each name either comes from or resonated with the communities. The feedback we received helped us narrow down the possibilities and proved to be crucial in helping us reach our final recommendations,” Seidule said.
In addition to Forts AP Hill, Polk and Bragg, the commission recommended that Georgia’s Fort Benning be renamed Fort Moore after Lieutenant General Hal and Julia Moore. Hal Moore served in the Army between 1945 and 1977, with assignments in Japan, Korea, Norway and Vietnam.
Fort Gordon in Georgia could become Fort Eisenhower after Army General Dwight Eisenhower, who continued to serve as the nation’s 34th President. Fort Hood in Texas could be renamed Fort Cavazos after General Richard Cavazos, who served in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
The Commission also proposed renaming Virginia’s Fort Lee to Fort Gregg-Adams after Lieutenant General Arthur Gregg and Lieutenant Colonel Charity Adams. Gregg helped desegregate the army, including in Fort Lee, while in 1944 Adams “was selected to lead the first unit of African-American women to serve abroad.” Her mission involved leading 6888. Central Postal Directory in England.
Meanwhile, Fort Pickett, Virginia, could be renamed Fort Barfoot after Tech. Sgt. Van T. Barfoot, who served for 34 years, including in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. And the commission proposed that Fort Rucker in Alabama be renamed Fort Novosel after Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael J. Novosel, Sr., who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, where he flew 2,543 medevac evacuation missions, according to the commission.