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Guard Installation Officially Redesignated Fort Barfoot

03-28-23 WR Barfoot
03-28-23 WR Barfoot
Washington Report

FORT BARFOOT, Va. — The Virginia National Guard’s Fort Pickett was officially redesignated Fort Barfoot in honor of Col. Van T. Barfoot last Friday.

Barfoot, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient with extensive Virginia ties, was honored during a ceremony at the Blackstone Army Airfield near Blackstone, Virginia.

During the event, invited guests heard remarks from Barfoot’s daughter Margaret Nicholls.

Attendees included Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, the director of the Army National Guard, and Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia.

The speakers also helped unveil the Fort Barfoot sign which will sit at the installation's main entrance.

"Having his service to this nation memorialized by this redesignation is a tribute to a man who epitomized what is great about our American soldiers," Nicholls said.

Fort Barfoot was previously named Fort Pickett after George Pickett, a Confederate general during the Civil War.

Pickett's name is now synonymous with Pickett's Charge, a failed infantry assault that ultimately cost Confederate forces the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Last Friday, Kaine praised Barfoot as a fitting replacement for Pickett as the Guard installation's namesake.

"And to be able to name it for someone whose ties to the Virginia National Guard were life-long and significant, I just say to the Naming Commission - you absolutely knocked it out of the park," Kaine said.

Fort Barfoot is among nine Army installation redesignations based on the Naming Commission’s recommendations to remove the names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America.

Of the nine installations, Fort Barfoot is the only Guard post being redesignated.

Per Military.com, the Army plans on redesignating the other installations according to the following schedule:

  • Fort Rucker, Alabama, will become Fort Novosel on April 20;
  • Fort Lee, Virginia, will become Fort Gregg-Adams on April 27;
  • Fort Hood, Texas, will become Fort Cavazos on May 9;
  • Fort Benning, Georgia, will become Fort Moore on May 11; and
  • Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will become Fort Liberty on June 2.

According to a spokesperson for Fort Gordon, Georgia, garrison officials are targeting October for the installation's redesignation as Fort Eisenhower.

Per spokespersons for each post, Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, and Fort Polk, Louisiana, don't have redesignation dates yet.

Fort A.P. Hill will become Fort Walker, while Fort Polk will become Fort Johnson.

According to Military Times, the Army now expects to pay $39 million for the overall renaming process.

Lt. Gen. Kevin Vereen, the Army deputy chief of staff for installations, revealed last Thursday that the project's cost had nearly doubled from an original $21 million estimate.

Barfoot passed away in 2012 at the age of 92. More details about his life are available here.

He had a significant Native American heritage as his maternal grandmother was a member of the Choctaw Nation.

To commemorate this heritage, representatives from Choctaw Nation and Virginia-based Native American tribes attended last week's ceremony and performed ceremonial songs and dance for audience.

Fort Barfoot’s Directorate of Public Works employees helped make signs with the post’s new name to replace existing ones around the installation.

Photos of that process are available here.

"The name will change, but I guarantee the mission will not," Williams vowed last Friday.

"We stand ready to train and prepare our forces for combat in the most realistic and challenging manner possible," he concluded.

— By Mike Vrabel, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

With Additional Reporting By Mark Hensch