RENAMING MILITARY BASES IN 2023 IS A FOCUS OF NAMING COMMISSION
The practice of renaming military bases is nothing new. There have been several instances of Army base name changes, among other branches and other entities that are a part of the U.S. military. But the call to rename military bases tied to Confederate fighters is notably different. It’s also complex. Since the creation of the Naming Commission by Congress, not only are Army base names changing, but a litany of other items, reaching over 1,000 in total, are also changing their namesakes as a result.
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Have Any Military Bases Been Renamed?
Yes, the process of renaming military bases has already begun at multiple installations. For example, you can now find that Thule Air Base has been renamed Pituffik Space Base and Fort Hood is now Fort Cavazos. Fort Pickett has also officially changed to Fort Barfoot.
Though for clarity, it’s somewhat unclear whether or not the Space Force installation in Greenland is due to ties of the Confederacy.
Regardless of these caveats, military bases renaming themselves has frequently occurred in 2023. Unsurprisingly, you can find many bases in the South. This is because many were named after Confederate fighters around World War I in an effort to court support from local populations in the South.
When you run a military force that is based on voluntary troops, marketing is key. Just ask any branch currently revisiting its campaigns these days as recruitment continues to reel from a variety of negative forces. Especially the Army, revamping its classic tagline only to hit an immediate PR nightmare when its star was involved in an alleged domestic dispute.
But there are several sentiments that such names placed on the bases serving the United States are not welcomed. Controversial to some, others dislike the ties of the Confederacy to its role in maintaining slavery. Additionally, many don’t believe those that chose to become traitors to the U.S. should represent its military installations.
Suggested read: U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY, WEST POINT MAY SOON SEE LANDMARKS RENAMED
What Military Bases Are Being Renamed?
You’ll notice that the nine military bases renamed are all found below the Mason–Dixon line for reasons explained above. Now, the call for updating their namesakes is here and there are several valiant replacements that will take their place. Many bases are very well-known and will take some getting used to. Here they are:
- Fort A.P. Hill can be found in Virginia, or at least it could. Fort Hill was renamed to Fort Walker in August of this year. The only female surgeon during the Civil War, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, is being honored. She is also the only woman ever awarded the Medal of Honor.
- Fort Pickett in Virginia has been renamed to Fort Barfoot in honor of Army Tech Sgt. Van T. Barfoot. He served with the 45th Infantry Division in Italy during WWII and would receive the Medal of Honor for his service.
- Fort Benning in Georgia is now called Fort Moore. Earning its namesake from Army Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and his wife, Julia Compton Moore, Hal was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross during the Vietnam War, while Julia was a staunch advocate for the military community.
- Fort Gordon in Georgia was the final Army base to be stripped of a Confederate name on Friday. It now is named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower who also served as a five-star Army General and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during WWII.
- Fort Bragg in North Carolina is now Fort Liberty after the leadership of the base decided it was better to go this route than name it after another person.
- Fort Hood in Texas was renamed Fort Cavazos in memory of Army Gen. Richard E. Cavazos. General Cavazos would earn the Distinguished Service Cross during Vietnam.
- Fort Lee in Virginia changed its name to Fort Gregg-Adams to commemorate Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams. While Lt. Gen. Gregg played a key role in allowing Blacks into the Army, Lt. Col. Adams blazed trails during WWII to become one of the highest-ranking female soldiers in World War II.
- Fort Polk found in Louisiana is now called Fort Johnson. It was Army Sgt. William Henry Johnson whose actions in the Argonne Forest in France would posthumously earn him a Medal of Honor for his service in WWI.
- Fort Rucker in Alabama switched its name to Fort Novosel in April of this year to commemorate Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Michael J. Novosel. While under fire during the Vietnam War, he would earn the Medal of Honor after saving 29 Soldiers in a medevac mission under such conditions.
How Much Will It Cost to Rename Military Bases?
To rename military bases alone will cost around $21 million. The overall costs associated with the renaming initiative which expands to other items such as buildings, street signs, and warships, are expected to cost well over $60 million in total. Considering the ever-expanding budget of the U.S. military, while nothing to scoff at, it’s a drop in the bucket comparatively.
As of October 27th, 2023, the Army has officially finished renaming 9 installations that previously honored confederate generals. This initiative came to a close with the renaming of Fort Gordon to Fort Eisenhower. The Department of Defense has until the end of the calendar year to finish the renaming recommendations. Their final recommendation included the renaming of the remaining 9 installations.
By January 1, 2024, the Army has plans to complete re-designs of each building and all other properties that previously were named after generals. The projected budget still stands, as these changes are expected to cost well over $62.5 million.
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