Georgia bases recommended to change from Confederate names
A federal panel announced this week it has received more than 34,000 recommendations for renaming Benning, Fort Gordon and other military installations, roads and vessels that are named after Confederate officers or that commemorate the Confederacy. The Naming Commission is working on a report of its recommendations to be presented to Congress by October of next year.
The commission has received more than 4,600 recommendations for renaming Fort Benning in southwest Georgia. The names include Sgt. Alwyn Cashe, Henry Flipper, Felix Hall, George C. Marshall, Hal and Julie Moore, Colin Powell and Ralph Puckett Jr. Sgt. 1st Class.
Sgt. Alwyn Cashe is expected to become the first African American recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq. Sgt. Cashe was on fire as he rushed to save his men in northern Iraq 16 years ago. A roadside bomb had just disabled his Bradley Fighting Vehicle, setting it ablaze. Sgt. Cashe helped get his trapped soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter out of the wrecked vehicle. He died from his wounds three weeks later
Among the more than 1,400 recommendations the commission received to replace Fort Gordon are President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and Harriet Tubman.
On its website, the panel says, America’s military bases should “appropriately reflect the courage, values and sacrifices of our diverse military men and women, with consideration given to the local or regional significance of names and their potential to inspire and motivate our service members.”
Fort Gordon is named after John Gordon, who commanded half of Robert E. Lee’s army for a time. Wounded five times at the Battle of Antietam, Gordon went on to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate before serving as the state’s governor. He owned slaves, fought Reconstruction, and was generally recognized as the head of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.
Located just outside Columbus, Fort Benning is named after Confederate general Henry Benning. Nicknamed “Old Rock” for his steadfastness in battle, he became an associate justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. An ardent secessionist before the war, he warned that if slavery were abolished there would be “Black governors, Black legislatures, Black juries, Black everything.”
The annual defense policy bill Congress passed and then approved again, over President Donald Trump’s veto, created the commission. The move came amid renewed protests for racial justice after the violent deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Ahmaud Arbery in southeast Georgia. The Pentagon is expected to act on the commission’s recommendations by 2024.