Army open to ‘discussions’ about renaming 10 bases named for Confederate troops

Elizabeth Howe
June 09, 2020 - 11:22 am
Fort Benning

US Army

After years of standing by its installations named for Confederate leaders, the United States Army has now said it is open to “conversations” about renaming those ten forts. 

As recently as late February, when the Marine Corps first announced its ban on Confederate paraphernalia, the Army reiterated that it had no intention of changing the names of these installations.

 “We have no plans to rename any street or installation, including those named for Confederate generals,” an Army spokesperson said at the time.

Army installations still carry confederate names as Marine Corps bans the symbol

In response to national unrest and a New York Times article published over Memorial Day Weekend accusing the military of celebrating white supremacy, the question rose again -- why does the Army still have installations named for Confederate military commanders? 

Now, Army officials have said they are open to “bi-partisan discussions on the topic.” 

The events of the past two weeks “made us start looking more at ourselves and the things that we do and how that is communicated to the force as well as the American public,” an Army official told Politico, which first reported the story. 

Both Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are reportedly open to renaming the ten installations across the country that carry the names of confederate leaders: Fort Lee, Fort Hood, Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Bragg, Fort Polk, Fort Pickett, Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Rucker and Camp Beauregard.

This changing perspective among Army leadership is only the most recent step senior military chiefs took in recent weeks in addressing race relations. Last week, the Air Force led the way in releasing statements denouncing racism and promising a fight for justice. The other services followed suit. 

The military has its own lessons to learn about racial justice, leaders say

In its statement to the force, the Army released a joint message from McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville about how the Army at times has “fallen short.” 

“We need to work harder to earn the trust of mothers and fathers who hesitate to hand their sons and daughters into our care,” the statement reads. “How we respond to the anger that has ignited will chart the course of that trust.”

--

Reach Elizabeth Howe on Twitter @ECBHowe.

Want to get more connected to the stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.