Want to give the missus a birthday surprise by having an Army post named after her? How would “Fort Ashley” sound as a present for that special someone who graduated at the top of her high school class?
It could happen, thanks to the U.S. Defense Department’s drive to solicit new names for a handful of mostly U.S. Army posts that were named after Confederate figures like John Bell Hood and Braxton Bragg.
The Pentagon’s new Naming Commission just rolled out a website, www.thenamingcommission.gov, that allows the public to offer their own suggestions for the Army posts with Confederate ties and two Navy ships on the list: the USS Chancellorsville and the USNS Maury.
The eight-member commission is led by retired Adm. Michelle Howard, a former vice chief of naval operations.
The commission was created by Congress last year over President Trump’s objections. It was directed to establish criteria to rename any Defense Department asset, including military bases, ships, and aircraft. In addition to Fort Bragg and Fort Hood, the Army posts on the list include Fort A.P. Hill; Fort Lee; Fort Rucker; Fort Benning; Fort Gordon; Fort Polk; Fort Pickett and Fort Belvoir:
Fort Belvoir was named for a plantation in Fairfax County outside Washington, D.C., that might have had Confederate ties. It was previously called Camp Humphreys in honor of Union Army Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys.
“We have to look at when or where the installation or asset was named and then what was the purpose behind the naming,” Adm. Howard said during a press conference after the commission was formed.
According to the commission, the new names offered should “appropriately reflect the courage, values, sacrifices, and diversity of our 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.”
The renaming panel also visited West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy to determine if any sites there had Confederate connections. Robert E. Lee was a former superintendent of West Point.
Mr. Trump was staunchly opposed to the renaming effort, which he compared to rewriting U.S. history.
In October, members of the Naming Commission are supposed to brief lawmakers from the Senate and House Armed Services Committees on their progress. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is expected to implement a plan submitted by the commission no later than Jan. 1, 2024.