With the commission to rename bases formed with the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, the goal of renaming 10 bases across the United States has moved forward. The Army bases named during World War II are getting a name change. The commission is made up of 8 members – four that are selected by the Secretary of Defense, and four from within the House and Senate Armed Services Committee representing veterans and military communities.
Recently Fort Bragg has solicited feedback on renaming the base. Per the installation’s homepage, the criteria for selecting a new name have not been released. Generally, the ideals of the Army of courage, values, sacrifices, and diversity of the military community will be utilized for the name selection per the Army’s website. There is also a Google doc specifically for the Fort Brag renaming with 17 suggested names with the history of each name listed.
Will giving feedback make the difference? On the one hand, the Army wants to include the local community and military community in the name choice. This would help the community feel ownership of the new base. It may also ease the tension in renaming the base. There has been division in regards to the naming commission. Some people applaud the effort of renaming the bases noting that the name change doesn’t erase history but moves forward. Others see the name change as exactly that – an erasing of history and poor use of funds and time. While others still feel the name of the base does not matter – naming the base generic things like “the Fort” or “Basey McBase Base” does not change or devalue what work is done there.
The commission has stated that they will take feedback into consideration, and will release criteria for name considerations. The bases being renamed are Ft. Bragg in North Carolina; Camp Beauregard and Fort Polk in Louisiana; Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia; Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett in Virginia, Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Rucker in Alabama.
Providing feedback for the installation you call home or have called home, is a great way to stay connected to your community, and be part of the history of the name change. It has certainly provided ample discussion on the history of military figures throughout America’s 250+ years.
The name change will not be immediate. Name recommendations were submitted to Congress by October 1, 2022.