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New Beginnings: The Renaming of Historic Military Bases and the Heroes They Honor

US History
US History
May 1, 2023
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Although you might have grown fond of the name of your old duty station, nine military bases are to be renamed in the coming years, expected to be completed by 2024. Of the nine, Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, and Fort Hood are among the most notable undergoing a name change. 

The weight of a name can help carry forward a new era of motivated soldiers. With a new name to bear and honor, the future generations of war-fighters can find it within themselves to emulate the same values of the new honorees. Although the change may be upsetting and seem unnecessary, it is refreshing to be able to honor other honorable soldiers who used their time in the service to make a mark on history.

Fort Benning will be renamed to Fort Moore, in honor of Vietnam veteran Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and his wife Julia Moore.

Lt. Gen. Moore was a West Pointer, the first of his graduating class (back in 1945!) to reach the rank of Lieutenant General. Moore commissioned as an Infantry officer, stationed at Fort Benning for his first assignment, where much of his military career would sprout from. During the Korean War, Moore served as battalion staff and commanded a heavy mortar company during combat. Lt. Gen. Moore is also known for his book We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, in which he accounts for his time in Vietnam in great detail. The book specifically focuses on the Battle of la Drang, where a young Lt. Colonel Moore gallantly led his troops while encircled by enemy forces. His wife, Julia Compton Moore, is known for her efforts in developing a support network for survivors and a casualty notification service that is still in use. The couple will both be honored through the name change and are both buried in Fort Benning's cemetery.

Fort Hood, in need of a desperate makeover, will be renamed to Fort Cavazos. Richard E. Cavazos was the first ever Hispanic four-star general. He was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, and Distinguished Flying Cross for his time in service. Cavazos is a native Texan, having attended the now Texas Tech University where he participated in ROTC. At the time of the Korean War, Cavazos was still a Second Lieutenant. As an infantry platoon leader, Cavazos performed the greatest trait any leader could have: clear communication. The platoon in which he commanded was comprised of mostly Puerto Rican soldiers, who did not speak English. Being bilingual, Cavazos facilitated smoother training and oversaw many completed missions with the platoon. With the ability to marry two cultures together to complete an important task, Cavazos kept up his streak of dedication and devotion to his troops. Displaying heroic bravery and fierce loyalty, Cavazos refused to leave wounded troops behind. Being wounded himself on mission, Cavazos still personally retrieved multiple men to ensure their safety. Hopefully, the name change can be a step in the right direction for the troubled base.

Fort Bragg was named after Confederate General Braxton Bragg. Of all the military installations across the country, only a handful were named after Confederate officers. Braxton Bragg was known for strict discipline and demanding command presence. With such qualities, he was not one of his subordinates' favorite officers to work with. Bragg was able to achieve much in his lifetime due to his stubbornness, combative nature, and forward thinking. Fort Bragg will be renamed to Fort Liberty, to honor a wide sweeping collective of what the American soldier stands for: heroism, sacrifice, and justice. According to the Army, “The name Fort Liberty unites all of what the community stands for through a common connection. Fort Liberty was not chosen at random. The word conveys the aspiration of all who serve and has special significance to our units and the community.”

Though the changes may still seem performative to some, it should be looked at through the lens of honoring heroic veterans.  They are more than deserving of it, and their stories deserve to be honored.

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