Two Georgia Army bases are expected to get new names thanks to their ties to the Confederacy.
Ft. Benning and Ft. Gordon were named this week as two of the nine in need of a name change.
The announcement follows a report from The Naming Commission detailing nine Army bases in need of renaming. Congress approved the bill – the William “Mac” Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for 2021– establishing the commission in 2021 in hopes of eradicating military installation names which derive from the Confederacy.
Georgia Congressman Austin Scott (GA-8) serves on the commission and joins:
- Adm. Michelle Howard, U.S. Navy, Retired,
- Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, U.S. Army, Retired,
- Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, U.S. Army, Retired,
- Jerry Buchannan,
- Gen. Robert Neller, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired,
- Mr. Lawrence Romo and
- Dr. Kori Schake.
The commission has been directed to establish criteria to rename or remove “names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia” that commemorate the Confederacy. Also under review:
any “base, installation, street, building, facility, aircraft, ship, plane, weapon, equipment or any other property owned or controlled by the Department of Defense”
In Georgia, two bases appear on the list for new names:
Fort Benning (Columbus, GA)
This base was named after Henry Benning who served in the Army of North Virginia as a Brigadier General under Robert E. Lee. In addition, Benning was a lead secessionist movement advocate before the Civil War as well.
Established in October 1918, Camp Benning provided basic training for World War I units post-war. In February 1920, Congress voted to declare Camp Benning a permanent military post and formally renamed the camp as ‘Fort Benning’ in 1922.
Currently, Fort Benning supports more than 120,000 active-duty military, family members, reserve component soldiers, retirees and civilian employees on a daily basis
Fort Gordon (Augusta, GA)
This base is named after former Governor of Georgia and Confederate Army General John Gordon. In 1865, Gordon was present for the formal surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. Gordon worked as an attorney, a plantation owner, and a politician.
While being reconstituted for readmission to the Union, Gordon ran as the Democratic candidate for governor in 1868. Republican Rufus Bullock defeated him, but Gordon was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1873. In 1879, he became the first ‘ex-Confederate’ to preside over the Senate, as he was a ‘New South’ proponent.
Gordon served as Governor from 1886 to 1891 and then returned to the U.S. Senate where he served until 1897.
Camp Gordon initially opened in July 1917 in Chamblee, Ga and operated until the federal government ordered the sale of real estate and buildings. The Army later abandoned the camp, along with Camp Hancock in Augusta, GA. From 1919 until 1941, no army installation named Camp Gordon existed, nor did an installation located near Augusta. Officials approved Camp Gordon as the name for a WWII division training camp which began construction in July 1941 and it officially became Fort Gordon in 1956.
Fort Gordon is the current home of the United States Army Signal Corps, United States Army Cyber Command, and the Cyber Center of Excellence.
Georgia Army Bases to Get New Names – Like what?
Currently, approximately 100 names appear on the list for consideration for the nine bases set to be renamed. The names are a result of the public’s offer of more than 34,000 suggestions for name changes. Among those the Commission is considering:
The Naming Commission will present final recommendations for new names to the House & Senate Armed Services committees by October 1, 2022.