Since the death of George Floyd in late May, Americans have become more conscious about race issues. As protests have swept through the country, cities have removed Confederate statues, and institutions have barred displays of the Confederate Flag. On Wednesday, Trump drew the line in favor of keeping the names of 10 army basses named after Confederates. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment, as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act. That would require the Department of Defense to rename military bases named after Confederate generals. Who are these bases named after, and if the amendment passes, after whom should they be renamed for?
Which Confederates are the military bases named after?
The bases, all in former Confederate states, were given names with input from locals in the Jim Crow era. Three of the biggest bases in the U.S. are named Confederate leaders. One of which, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, is the headquarters of the Special Forces. The fort is named after General Braxton Bragg; a commander considered one of the most inefficient commanders in the war. Fort Benning in Georgia, home of the Army infantry and airborne training, is named after Brigadier General Henry Benning. The latter led troops at Antietam and Gettysburg. Fort Hood in Texas is named after John Bell Hood, who resigned his commission in the U.S. army to fight for the Confederacy. His reckless command sped up the fall of Atlanta, and his loss at the Battle of Franklin was one of the most disastrous battles for the Confederate Army.
Who should the military bases be named after instead?
In the past, one of the biggest pushes to rename a military base was to rename Fort Hood after Roy Benavidez. He was a Green Beret who received the Medal of Honor for action in Cambodia during the Vietnam War. In recent days, veterans and others have lobbied for other historical figures, opening the door for women and minorities. One name being offered up is Mary Edwards Walker, a surgeon and prisoner during the Civil War and the only woman who has received the Medal of Honor. Another person that Fort Benning would be better renamed after is Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe; a black soldier and Georgia native whose actions in Iraq became a legend. He managed to rescue six soldiers from a military vehicle that was destroyed, while he was on fire. These are just a few examples of who the military forts could be renamed after.
President Donald Trump is on another path of conflict against the Senate. While the Senate is on track to approve an amendment to require the renaming of military bases, Trump is refusing to consider it at all. Although renaming the military bases could take a while, there is no shortage of great American heroes that the bases can be renamed after.