With racial tensions growing since the events in Charlottesville, the debate of the U.S. military’s continued use of Confederate names has been brought back in the limelight. The Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley tweeted out “ The Army doesn’t tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks.”
However, there still has yet to be an official comment on the Army planning to change any of the ten installations named in honor of Confederate generals.
The last time the Army commented on these ten base names was following the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, SC. Then Army public affairs chief Brig. Gen. Malcolm Frost said, “Every Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a place in our military history,” adding “these historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies.”
Many people have recommended changing the names of these installations but the Army has not taken the lead citing historical precedent. Also, no one in the Army has publicly shared the costs of making these name changes to include signage, letterheads, and directories. If the Army decides to move forward on the base renaming it will also need to include the Confederate named streets on all other Army installations. These cost estimates should be presented to Congress and included in the next NDAA to legislate the name changes and provide the necessary funds.
While many people have argued for removing these names, only a few have offered any alternatives. Following the mantra of “Don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions,” I am asking those concerned about how to move forward on this issue to offer some solutions. Click here to vote in a short poll to develop suggestions for renaming ten installations named for Confederate soldiers. The individuals named in the poll hearken back to the Army’s positive past, providing names of people who have not carried arms against the United States. That should be the bare minimum if we’re looking at base names.
About the author: Leo Cruz has served on all sides of the five-sided puzzle palace as a former Department of Defense political appointee and Naval officer. Currently a storyteller for hire, connecting people and concepts for collective change.