Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy is weighing possible options to rename Army installations named after the Confederate leaders of the American Civil War.
An Army spokesperson, Colonel Sunset Belinsky, informed Politico “the Secretary of the Army is open to a bipartisan discussion on the topic” in the matter of possibly renaming installations named after Confederate officers. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also backs McCarthy’s open dialogue into whether these bases should be renamed.
Last week, Army Chief of Staff General James McConville and Army Sergeant Major Michael Grinston delivered a pledge to the entire Army that it would do improve diversity awareness throughout the total force.
“Over the past week, the country has suffered an explosion of frustration over the racial divisions that still plague us as Americans. And because your Army is a reflection of American society, those divisions live in the Army as well. We feel the frustration and anger,” they wrote. “We need to work harder to earn the trust of mothers and fathers who hesitate to hand their sons and daughters into our care.”
In April 2020, Marine commandant General David H. Berger banned the public display of Confederate battle flags, suggesting that this symbol could have the “power to inflame feelings of division”. In light of the George Floyd movement, Marine Corps Lieutenant General John J. Broadmeadow on Friday, June 5 outright released a statement the first week of June, further clarifying that public display of the battle flag is unauthorized in public and workspaces “to support core values, ensure unit cohesion and security, and preserve good order and discipline”.
Many Confederate monuments throughout the United States have been taken down or vandalized in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the ongoing protest movements. In Richmond, a federal judge has postponed the removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue for ten days. The Daughters of the Confederacy building in Richmond, Virginia, was burned down by protesters on the night of May 31.
“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the Marines said in a statement. “Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society,” stated Lieutenant General Broadmeadow.
There are currently ten military bases named after Confederate Colonels and Generals.
Fort AP Hill named for Lieutenant General A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Virginia
Fort Benning named for Brigadier General Henry Benning in Columbus, Georgia
Camp Beauregard named for General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard in Pineville, Louisiana
Fort Gordon named for Lieutenant General John Brown Gordon in Augusta, Georgia
Fort Hood named for General John Bell Hood in Killeen, Texas
Fort Pickett named for Major General George Pickett in Blackstone, Virginia
Fort Lee named for General Robert E. Lee in Virginia
Fort Polk named for LTG Leonidas Polk in Vernon Parish, Louisiana
Fort Rucker named for Colonel Edmund Rucker in Alabama