The proposed names include female, African American, Native American and Latino service members, a nod to the various ranks the U.S. military has enjoyed over the years. The commission, however, also recommended renaming some of the bases after the white men.
Renaming bases with Confederate nicknames became a hot political issue in the final months of the Trump administration, when then-President Donald Trump lambasted the idea, accusing others of wanting to “throw these names”.
Trump had vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, which included the Naming Commission, but in the final days of his administration, Congress passed its first and only surrogate veto during his tenure, approving the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The naming commission solicited suggestions for possible new names for U.S. Army bases via a public website. They received over 34,000 submissions for possible names to rename the bases, Brig. Retired U.S. Army Gen. Ty Seidule, vice chairman of the naming commission, said during a panel discussion on Tuesday.
Of the 34,000 suggestions, the commission narrowed the list to 3,670 possible candidate names, then to 87, and finally to the list of recommendations it released today.
“Each name came from or resonated with local communities. The feedback we received helped us narrow down the options and proved critical in helping us reach our final recommendations,” Seidule said.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomed the proposals.
“Today’s announcement highlights the commission’s efforts to come up with nine new installation names that reflect the courage, values, sacrifices and diversity of our military men and women,” Austin said. in a press release.
Austin will have the final say on the renaming of the bases, and the commission’s final recommendations to Congress are expected Oct. 1.
Here are the nine bases that could see their names changed.
Fort A. P. Hill to Fort Walker
The commission suggested changing the name of Virginia’s Fort AP Hill from Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell (AP) Hill, a Confederate commander, to Fort Walker. Dr. Mary Walker was the first female surgeon in the Army and eventually received the Medal of Honor for her service in the Civil War.
“Dr. Mary Walker’s service to the nation, her perseverance in the face of significant odds because of her gender, and her lifelong fight for equality serve as an example and inspiration to all Americans,” said the commission in a press release.
Fort Polk to Fort Johnson
Fort Polk in Louisiana, named after a Confederate commander, Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk, may 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 having single-handedly fought around two dozen Germans, killing at least four. He was later posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
“His story embodies an indomitable will to win against all odds, the sacrifices endured by our soldiers and the many legacies of our military heroes,” the statement read.
Fort Bragg to Fort Liberty
Fort Bragg, North Carolina, one of the largest military installations in the world, could be named Fort Liberty, according to the commission’s recommendations, the only installation to be named after an American valor instead of an individual or a group of people.
General Braxton Bragg was an unpopular Confederate general who drew widespread criticism for his often poor performance in the field, accompanied by a hot temper and a combative personality.
Fort Benning to Fort Moore
Fort Benning in Georgia may be renamed Fort Moore after Lt. Gen. Hal and Julia Moore. Hal Moore served in the military between 1945 and 1977, with postings in Japan, Korea, Norway and Vietnam.
His wife, Julia, “has worked with the American Red Cross and advocated for continued support for military families, including child care and quality of life opportunities and initiatives that families have relied on. and refined to date,” the statement said.
Fort Gordon to Fort Eisenhower
Georgia’s Fort Gordon may become Fort Eisenhower after Army General Dwight Eisenhower, who later served as the country’s 34th president.
The commission said in its statement that “the late President’s extensive, innovative and effective military experience and leadership shaped our modern world. His career demonstrated exceptional devotion to duty, performing these duties with an eye on the history and a personal experience adapted to the new circumstances.”
Fort Hood to Fort Cavazos
Fort Hood in Texas may be renamed Fort Cavazos after General Richard Cavazos, who served in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
“In 1982, he became the first Hispanic-American to be pinned four stars,” the statement read. “His last assignment as head of U.S. Army Forces Command summed up his service career perfectly, placing him in charge of the support, training, and deployment of all Army deployable forces.”
From Fort Lee to Fort Gregg Adams
The commission also proposed renaming Virginia’s Fort Lee 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 chosen to command the first unit of African-American women to serve overseas.” His assignment was to run the 6888th Central Postal Directory in England.
“Although Arthur Gregg and Charity Adams served in different missions and in different conflicts, consistent themes of leadership, dedication and problem-solving united their service,” the commission said. “Furthermore, by overcoming sustainment obstacles caused by war, they also helped overcome social obstacles caused by segregation. Their service simultaneously supported mission success and societal progress.”
Fort Pickett to Fort Barfoot
Meanwhile, Fort Pickett in Virginia could be renamed Fort Barfoot after Tech. sergeant. Van T. Barfoot, who served for 34 years, including World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
The commission noted that Barfoot, who died in 2012, made headlines in 2009 “when he insisted on flying the American flag in his home, against the wishes of his local homeowners association.”
Fort Rucker to Fort Novosel
The commission also suggested that Fort Rucker in Alabama should 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 missions, according to The release.
This story has been updated with additional details.