One by one, the names of confederate generals are being removed from U.S. military bases.
On April 27, 2023, Fort Lee, a military base in Virginia named for a Confederate general, was renamed for two African American officers: Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg, the U.S. Army’s first Black three-star general, and Lt. Col. Charity Adams, who oversaw mail delivery to soldiers in Europe during World War II.
On May 9, Fort Hood in Texas, originally named for a Confederate general who wrote that it would be better to “die a thousand deaths” than free the South’s slaves, was renamed for Gen. Richard Cavazos, who earned more than a dozen medals for valor in Vietnam and Korea and became the first Hispanic American promoted to general.
On May 11, Georgia’s Fort Benning, named for a Confederate general who said he would rather suffer “pestilence and famine” than give up slavery, became the only base named for a married couple: Lt. Gen. Harold Moore, a Vietnam War hero, and his wife, Julia, an advocate for military families.
And on June 2, Fort Bragg, a base in North Carolina named after a slave-owning Southerner considered one of the worst Confederate generals because of his performance on the battlefield, was renamed Fort Liberty – highlighting the value that the fort’s commander said defines what “the people, the families, the civilians, the veterans of this area have done.”
By the end of the year, the U.S. Department of Defense will have removed Confederate names from those and five other Army bases and replaced them with names that exemplify modern-day role models and values.
When the idea of purging such names from the U.S. military gathered steam in 2020, it drew fierce opposition from many conservative politicians, including then-President Donald Trump, who called the Confederate-themed bases “part of a Great American Heritage.”
“Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations,” Trump tweeted before he vetoed legislation mandating the name changes.
But after Congress overrode the veto, a federal commission studied the issue for more than a year by holding hearings, inviting public input and sifting through nearly 3,700 names suggested for the nine bases, all in the South.
Surprisingly, complaints about shedding the Confederate names have died down.