Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered the renaming of military bases that currently bear the names of Confederate officers. His order includes the official discontinuance of a long list of military words that refer to the southern states’ secession, which led to the U.S. Civil War.
The renaming was mandated in a 2020 Defense Authorization budget package passed by Congress. President Donald Trump vetoed the package because of the renaming aspect, but his veto was overridden by Congress. The cost to taxpayers of renaming the bases is estimated to be $20 million.
The Naming Commission spent a year inventorying the military’s references to the Confederacy. In all, the commission found nine Army bases that commission members said need new names:
- Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is to be renamed Fort Liberty.
- Fort Hood, Texas, will be renamed Fort Cavazos, after an Army hero in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
- Fort Benning, Georgia will be known as Fort Moore, for Hal Moore, a cavalry officer represented in the movie, “We Were Soldiers,” and his wife, Julia Moore, whose efforts led the Army to set up survivor support networks and casualty notification teams that consisted of uniformed officers calling on survivors to bring the news.
- Fort Polk, Louisiana will be named after Sgt. William Johnson, a Medal of Honor recipient for valor during World War I.
- Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, will be named for Dr. Mary Walker, the only woman Medal of Honor recipient for treating the injured soldiers during the Civil War.
- Fort Gordon, Georgia will be named Fort Eisenhower. Gordon was a Confederate major general and a governor of Georgia. Dwight Eisenhower was a general, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, and a president.
- Fort Lee, Virginia will be known as Fort Gregg-Adams, honoring the heroism of two black officers, Lt. General Arthur J. Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams. Gregg is still alive, but is retired.
- Fort Pickett, Virginia will be called Fort Barfoot, after Sgt. Van T. Barfoot, who received the Medal of Honor during World War II. As a footnote, before his death in 2012, Barfoot gained national attention when he successfully fought his homeowners association so that he could keep the American flag flying on a flagpole in his front yard.
- Fort Rucker, Alabama will become Fort Novosel, after Michael Novosel of Alabama, a military aviator, and Medal of Honor recipient who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, with a combined 40 years of service.
The commission also found about 1,100 Confederate references that will be scrubbed, including the Navy’s missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville, named for a major Confederate victory, known as “Robert E.Lee’s perfect battle,” in a battle against the North.
“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 a statement.
In 2015, the name of the Western Alaska U.S. Census district of Wade Hampton was changed to scrub a Confederate reference. Wade Hampton was a Civil War general who owned slaves. The new name is Kusilvak Census District.