President 'will not even consider' renaming military bases honoring Confederate leaders

Abbie Bennett
June 10, 2020 - 3:53 pm
Fort Bragg

By Abbie Bennett and Elizabeth Howe

President Donald Trump said his administration "will not even consider" renaming military installations honoring Confederate leaders.

After years of standing by its installations named for Confederate generals, Army leaders said they were open to "conversations"  and "bipartisan discussions on the topic" of renaming 10 bases. 

The president said in a series of tweets on Wednesday that the "monumental and very powerful bases have become part of a great American heritage and a history of winning, victory and freedom." He said the United States "trained and deployed our heroes on these hallowed grounds and won two World Wars ... My administration will not even consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military installations. Our history as the greatest nation in the world will not be tampered with. Respect our military!" 

Civil unrest -- including massive protests -- rooted in racial injustices erupted across the country in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd, a black man prosecutors say was killed by Minneapolis police after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

Recent weeks have "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 said, first reported by Politico

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.

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.

The Navy this week joined the Marine Corps in banning public displays of the Confederate flag. 

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

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. 

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.”

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

 

Navy follows Marine Corps' ban on Confederate flags

Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett.

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