The list has the most famous military names such as Colin Powell and Audie Murphy, as well as D-Day field commander Gen. Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower, World War II supreme Allied commander in Europe turned president.
But the 100 names settled on Thursday by a commission appointed to scrub Confederate names — and a long legacy of racism and slavery — from nine Army bases also include Alwyn Cashe, the Black Iraq war hero who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in December.
The escaped slave Harriet Tubman, who was a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad and a spy for the Union, and Union 1st Sgt. Powhatan Beaty, who escaped slavery and fought the South in the Civil War, could also soon have their names on one of the largest military bases in the U.S., such as Fort Bragg, North Carolina, which was named in 1918 for Gen. Braxton Bragg, who fought for the Confederacy.
The Naming Commission released its list for Army installations and is slated to hand over a final plan to Congress by October to re-name Fort Bragg; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia; and Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett in Virginia.
“It’s important that the names we recommend for these installations appropriately reflect the courage, values and sacrifices of our diverse military men and women,” retired Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, the chair of the Naming Commission, said in a released statement. “We also are considering the local and regional significance of names and their potential to inspire and motivate our service members.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first Black person to serve in that position, is expected to announce new names for some of the country’s most iconic military facilities in 2023.
Congress created the commission as part of a historic move to scrub the tributes to the Confederacy memorialized through the military installations following a growing realization that a diverse, all-volunteer force should no longer carry the legacy of racism. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md.; Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
But the change has also sparked some outrage and backlash as some argue the Confederate tributes should remain as part of the military’s history and culture. The commission traveled to the base communities and met with residents last year, and asked for suggestions through the internet.
“Some of those suggestions on the website are quite intense,” Howard, who is Black, said in October. “There are some folks who are distinctly opposed and the verbiage that [they] use is quite deliberate and they make it clear they do not support the commission.”
Overall, the eight-member commission received 34,000 submissions with 3,670 unique names, it said Thursday. It whittled that down to 100 candidate names for the Army bases.
Here is the full list:
Mitchell Red Cloud
Bruce Crandall & Ed Freeman
Benjamin Davis, Sr.
Gary Gordon & Randall Shughart
Hal & Julia Moore
Michael Novosel, Sr.
Emmett Paige Jr.
Roscoe Robinson Jr.
Tibor “Ted” Rubin
Hugh Thompson Jr.
John Vessey Jr.
This story was written by Travis Tritten.Read comments