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Recommended new names for Fort Bragg, 8 other army bases | Up-top news

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fort Bragg will become Fort Liberty. Fort Gordon will be Fort Eisenhower. And for the first time army bases will be named after black soldiers and women. An independent commission on Tuesday recommended new names for the nine army posts that now honor Confederate officers.

These recommendations are the latest step in a broad military effort to combat racial injustice, most recently after the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in May 2020.

Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is the only base that will not be named after a man. The other two will be named after black soldiers, and the three will include the names of women. Fort Gordon in Georgia will receive the most famous name – honoring the memory of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who led the Allied forces in Europe in World War II.

Other proposed renamings will honor lesser-known heroes, including several who received the Medal of Honor, the highest military award. Fort Regiment in Louisiana will be renamed Fort Johnson in honor of the sergeant. William Henry Johnson, holder of the Black Medal of Honor who served in the Army in World War I.

Fort Pickett in Virginia will be named after a technical sergeant. Van Barfoot, World War II Honorary Medal recipient, and Fort Rocker, Alabama, will be named Fort Newcomer after Chief Ensign Michael Novosel, World War II Honorary Medal recipient, who served in World War II and Vietnam.

Fort AP Hill in Virginia will be renamed Fort Walker, in honor of Mary Edwards Walker, a doctor who treated soldiers during the Civil War and later received the Medal of Honor.

Fort Hood, Texas, will be renamed Fort Cavazas, in honor of General Richard Cavazas, who participated in the Korean War, received the Cross of Merit, the second highest military award, and became the first four-star Hispanic general.

Fort Benning, Georgia, will be named after a married couple: Lieutenant General Hal Moore, who served in Vietnam and received the Cross of Merit, and his wife, Julia, who pushed to create teams that make personal notifications about the military. victims.

And Fort Lee, Virginia, will be named after a hyphen – Fort Gregg-Adams – and this is the only one that would honor the memory of someone who survived today: Lieutenant General Arthur J. Greg is known as the head of logistics. Lt. Col. Charita Adams, the second half of the name, commanded the first women’s unit of the Black Army deployed in World War II.

Congress is due to submit a final report by Oct. 1, and it will include the cost of removing and changing titles. The renaming process was laid down in a law passed by Congress in late 2020. The Minister of Defense is expected to implement the commission’s plan no later than January 1, 2024.

The proposal to change the names sparked widespread discussion and debate in community bases across the country. Members of the group visited the bases, met with local leaders and residents and relied heavily on their recommendations in choosing the final names, Vice Chairman Tai Seidul said.

For years, U.S. military officials have defended the names of the bases in honor of Confederate officers. Back in 2015, the army claimed that these names do not honor the cause of the rebels, but are a gesture of reconciliation with the South.

But after the assassination of Floyd and the ensuing months of racial unrest, Congress ordered a comprehensive plan to rename military posts and hundreds of other federal facilities, such as roads, buildings, memorials, signs and landmarks honoring rebel leaders.

The change in military thinking was reflected in the testimony in Congress of Army General Mark Millie, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a month after Floyd’s death. He said the current base titles could be a reminder to black soldiers that rebel officers were fighting for an institution that may have enslaved their ancestors.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the country’s first black Pentagon leader, spoke directly about his personal brushes with racism. During a Senate approval hearing, he said he was serving as a lieutenant colonel in the 82nd Airborne Service at Fort Bragg when three white soldiers, called self-proclaimed skinheads, were arrested for killing a black couple walking down the street.

Investigators concluded that the two were targeted because of racial race, and all 22 soldiers were linked to skinheads and other similar groups or were deemed extremist.

The current Air Force chief, General Charles K. Brown, released an emotional video last June in which he discussed the difficulties he was experiencing as a young black pilot. Brown, the first chief of the Black Air Force, said he had to prove to white leaders “that their expectations and perceptions of African Americans are untrue.”

Established in 2020, the Name Commission first met in March 2021 and began accepting recommendations on names from the public in September. In total, the commission received more than 34,000 potential names, including about 3,670 unique ones that could be used. This list was later narrowed to about 100 before the last nine were elected for recommendation to Congress.

U.S. MP Anthony Brown, MD, who learned to fly helicopters at Fort Rucker and also spent time at Fort Bragg and Fort Benning, called the new names a significant step forward.

“All of these bases honored people who didn’t want me or other black Americans to serve in uniform, let alone Congress,” he said. “We cannot ask today’s military and women to defend our country while housing and educating them and their families on installations in honor of those who betrayed our country to enslave others and preserve white supremacy.”

On Tuesday, commission members said the decisions were difficult because they had so many heroes to choose from. But in all cases they said they have the broad consent of local communities.

However, in at least one case, commission members said locals were adamant that they wanted a name that was not on the final list: Fort Liberty. During the group’s last visit to Fort Bragg, the people at the meeting “were very, very adamant about the name Fort Liberty,” said Lawrence Roma, a member of the commission. “We really respected what the Fort Bragg community wanted.”

Seidul said the board wants to name names that “will inspire soldiers to achieve the highest standards required by their nation in peacetime and in war.”

The panel also considers new names for two Navy ships: the USS Chancellorsville and the USNS Maury. These and new names of hundreds of streets, buildings and other facilities will be in the final report.

Congress is due to submit a final report by Oct. 1, and it will include the cost of removing and changing titles. By law, the defense minister must implement the commission’s plan no later than January 1, 2024.

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