Department of Defense OKs renaming of Fort Gordon, Fort Benning, other military bases

Memo released by Secretary of Defense approves naming recommendations
Fort Benning to be renamed Fort Moore, in honor of a military family.

Fort Benning to be renamed Fort Moore, in honor of a military family.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has approved new names for nine military bases, including Fort Gordon and Fort Benning and other military assests.

In a memo released last week, Austin stated that the Department of Defense accepted the Naming Commission’s recommendations for the new names of the military bases.

“I fully support the efforts and recommendations of the Naming Commission on this important matter, and I am committed to implementing all of the Commission’s recommendations as soon as possible,” Austin said in the memo.

There is a 90-day waiting period until all recommendations made by the commission can be implemented but Austin said he wants all of them to be implemented by Jan. 1, 2024. Austin directed all relevant departments to begin implementing the recommendations that are not subject to the 90-day waiting period, including DoD’s memorialization and naming process.

A Naming Commission Implementation Working Group led by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment will oversee the full implementation of the commission’s recommendations.

The NAACP and other groups have long advocated for the renaming of military bases related to the Confederacy. Racial tensions across the country following the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery galvanized the move to do so. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, Congress tasked the Naming Commission with completing a report with recommendations to remove, rename or modify “names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia” related to the Confederacy in September.

Former President Donald Trump opposed the renaming of military bases during his time in office and vetoed the NDAA in December 2020 before Congress overrode the veto in January 2021.

The commission had until Oct. 1 and a budget of $2 million to submit its final recommendations to Congress. According to the commission, the final report was submitted ahead of schedule and under budget.

“I thank the Commission for its tremendous work and dedication, its determination to respond to the directives of our elected representatives in Congress, and its sensitivity to the concerns and emotions raised by this important discussion,” Austin said. “The Commission has chosen names that echo with honor, patriotism, and history - names that will inspire generations of Service members to defend our democracy and our Constitution.”

Fort Gordon, outside Augusta, will be renamed Fort Eisenhower after former President and five-star General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The base is currently named after John Gordon, who commanded half of Robert E. Lee’s army during the Civil War.

Fort Benning, outside of Columbus, will be renamed Fort Moore after Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and his wife, Julia Moore. It is named after Henry Benning, a Confederate general. First Lady Jill Biden will visit Fort Benning on Thursday and Friday to meet with military personnel and their families.

Lt. Gen. Moore fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars and coauthored the bestselling book “We Were Soldiers Once...and Young.” Julia Moore supported military families back home during her husband’s service. Both are buried at Fort Benning.

The commission also recommended the following military bases be renamed:

  • North Carolina - Fort Bragg to Fort Liberty, in commemoration of the American value of liberty
  • Alabama - Fort Rucker to Fort Novosel, in commemoration of CW4 Michael J. Novosel Sr.
  • Louisiana - Fort Polk to Fort Johnson, in commemoration of Sgt. William Henry Johnson
  • Texas - Fort Hood to Fort Cavazos, in commemoration of Gen. Richard E. Cavazos
  • Virginia - Fort A.P. Hill to Fort Walker, in commemoration of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker
  • Virginia - Fort Lee to Fort Gregg-Adams, in commemoration of Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams
  • Virginia - Fort Pickett to Fort Barfoot, in commemoration of Tech. Sgt. Van T. Barfoot

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