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Defense secretary appoints four to commission on renaming military bases that honor Confederates

There are 10 U.S. Army posts named after men who were Confederate generals during the Civil War. Top row, from left: Braxton Bragg, George Edward Pickett, Henry Benning, A.P. Hill and Leonidas Polk. Bottom row, from left: John Brown Gordon, John Bell Hood, Robert E. Lee, Edmund Rucker and Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

By ROSE L. THAYER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 8, 2021

Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller announced Friday that he has appointed four people to a commission created by Congress to examine how to rename military bases that honor Confederate leaders.

Miller selected Sean McLean of California, Joshua Whitehouse of New Hampshire, Anne G. Johnston of North Carolina and Earl Matthews of Pennsylvania to serve on the Commission on the Naming of Items of the Department of Defense that Commemorate the Confederate States of America or Any Person Who Served Voluntarily with the Confederate States of America, according to Pentagon news release issued Friday.

The commission is mandated by the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which sets funding and policy for the military.

Passed into law Jan. 1, the NDAA also includes a measure from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to remove Confederate names from Defense Department property within three years and provides $2 million for the commission’s work.

These four commission members will join four other members who will be selected by the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.

The 10 Army posts named in honor of Confederate generals are Camp Beauregard and Fort Polk in Louisiana, Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett in Virginia, Fort Rucker in Alabama, and Fort Hood in Texas. The installations were named primarily during the south’s Jim Crow era in the 1910s and 1940s.

Aside from the bases, the commission also will plan how to remove symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that honor the Confederacy.

The commission will be required to brief Congress by October on their progress and then issue a formal plan by October 2022 that will detail a list of assets to be removed or renamed and the cost associated with doing so.

thayer.rose@stripes.com
Twitter: @Rose_Lori