The proposed names include women, African-American, Native American and Latino service members, a nod to the diverse ranks the US military has benefited from over the years. The commission, however, also recommended renaming a few of the bases after White men.
The Naming Commission suggested changing the name of Fort A.P. Hill, named after a Confederate general, to Fort Walker. Dr. Mary Walker was the Army’s first female surgeon and was ultimately awarded the Medal of Honor for her service during the Civil War.
Fort Polk in 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 off about two dozen Germans alone, killing 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 one of the facilities named after an American value instead of an individual or group of people.
The renaming of bases with Confederate monikers became a hot button political issue in the final months of the Trump administration, when then-President Donald Trump blasted the idea, accusing others of wanting to “throw those names away.”
Trump had vetoed the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which included the Naming Commission, but in the waning days of his administration, Congress delivered its first and only veto override during his tenure, approving the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The naming commission solicited suggestions for possible new names to the US Army bases through a public website. They received more than 34,000 submissions for possible names to rename the bases, Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, US Army, Retired, Vice Chair of the Naming Commission said during a roundtable on Tuesday.
From the 34,000 suggestions, the commission narrowed the list to 3,670 names as possible contenders, then down to 87, and finally to the list of recommendations they released today.
“Every name either originated from or resonated with the local communities. The feedback we received assisted us in narrowing the options and proved vital in helping us reach our final recommendations,” Seidule said.
In addition to Forts A.P. Hill, Polk and Bragg, the commission recommended that Georgia’s Fort Benning could be renamed Fort Moore after Lt. Gen. 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 General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower, who went on to serve as the nation’s 34th president. Fort Hood in Texas could be renamed Fort Cavazos after Gen. Richard Cavazos, who served in both the Korean War and Vietnam War.
The commission also proposed to rename Virginia’s Fort Lee as Fort Gregg-Adams after Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams. Gregg helped desegregate the Army, including at Fort Lee, while Adams, in 1944, “was selected to command the first unit of African-American women to serve overseas.” Her mission involved leading the 6888th Central Postal Directory in England.
Meanwhile, Fort Pickett in Virginia could be renamed as 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 suggested Fort Rucker in Alabama should be renamed as 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.