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Report: Erasing Confederacy from U.S. Military to Cost $62.5 million

09-20-22 WR Base Names
09-20-22 WR Base Names
Washington Report

The third and final report from an eight-member panel Congress created to identify Defense Department assets honoring the Confederacy recommends renaming or removing 1,100-plus items.

The Naming Commission’s report released yesterday estimated the effort would cost roughly $62.5 million.

The commission proposed renaming the Air Force's Fort Fisher Recreation Area in North Carolina.

The panel also suggested stripping the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia to its base.

The group's first report in May recommended the Army rename nine bases honoring Confederate leaders:

  • Fort Rucker, Alabama, be renamed Fort Novosel in honor of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael Novosel, an Army aviator who earned the Medal of Honor for his actions in Kien Tuong Province, Vietnam.
  • Fort Benning, Georgia, be renamed Fort Moore in honor of Vietnam War hero Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and his wife, Julia, an advocate for military families.
  • Fort Gordon, Georgia, be renamed Fort Eisenhower after President Dwight Eisenhower, who was also an Army general.
  • Fort Polk, Louisiana, be renamed Fort Johnson in commemoration of Sgt. William Henry Johnson, a member of the famed “Harlem Hellfighters” from the New York Guard. Johnson earned the Medal of Honor for his actions in France’s Argonne Forest during World War I.
  • Fort Bragg, North Carolina, be renamed Fort Liberty.
  • Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, be renamed Fort Walker in honor of Dr. Mary Walker, a Civil War hero and the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.
  • Fort Lee, Virginia, be renamed Fort Gregg-Adams in commemoration of Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams. Gregg, who retired in 1981, is considered one of the Army’s great logistics leaders of the 20th century. Adams commanded the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the first and only all-Black, all-female American battalion deployed overseas during World War II.
  • Fort Pickett, Virginia, be renamed Fort Barfoot in commemoration of Army Tech. Sgt. Van Barfoot, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions near Carano, Italy, while serving with the National Guard’s 45th Infantry Division during World War II.
  • Fort Hood, Texas, be renamed Fort Cavazos in commemoration of Gen. Richard Cavazos, who fought in Korea and Vietnam and was the Army’s first Hispanic four-star general.

The panel's second report focused on assets at the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, recommending West Point take down a famous portrait of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Lee was West Point's superintendent from 1852-1855.

The commission also recommended pulling Confederate campaign streamers from the colors of current units that fought for the South in the Civil War.

The list includes Army National Guard units from 11 southern states, with Georgia and Virginia having the most.

For example, there are 11 Confederate campaign streamers on the colors of the 116th Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division, in Staunton, Virginia.

The commission's final report provides a lengthy list of names the group vetted that could replace existing names.

The panel collected more than 34,000 suggestions and public comments encompassing more than 3,600 unique names.

The defense secretary is required to implement a plan to rename, modify or remove names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia referencing the Confederacy by Jan. 1, 2024.

Congressional reaction has been limited, but at least one key lawmaker commended the commission’s work yesterday.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the House Armed Services Committee chairman, said in a statement the commission’s recommendations “honor the strength, diversity, and values of the United States military, the American people, and our democracy."

Created by the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, the commission is authorized to recommend new names for military assets — installations, ships, buildings, roads, etc. — honoring Confederate States of America leaders.

The commission’s full name is the Commission on the Naming of Items of the Department of Defense that Commemorate the Confederate States of America or Any Person Who Served Voluntarily with the Confederate States of America.

The commission's reports are available at www.thenamingcommission.gov.

— By John Goheen