A ceremony in Blackstone, Virginia, on Friday kicked off the US Army’s initiative to rename nine military bases after Confederate generals.
The first to fall, Fort Pickett, is now strong bare footnamed for Colonel Van T. Barfoot, a Native American hero of World War II credited with capturing 17 Nazis and killing several more during a single battle in 1944.
The fort, a National Guard base, was previously named for General George Pickett, a Confederate general who led an unsuccessful charge of Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
Colonel Barfoot died in Richmond, Virginia, in 2012.
“To have his service to this nation commemorated by this new designation is a tribute to a man who embodied the greatness of our American soldiers,” Barfoot’s daughter, Margaret Nicholls, said at Friday’s ceremony.
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Barfoot reportedly discussed training at Camp Pickett during an interview with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. He was a choctaw indianand was born in Mississippi.
The Army also announced Friday that Texas’ Fort Hood, named for Confederate leader Gen. John Bell Wood, will be renamed Fort Cavazos on May 9. according to stars and stripes. General Richard Cavazos was the nation’s first four-star Hispanic general. The Texas native fought in Korea and Vietnam.
A federal law passed in 2021 requires bases named after Confederate leaders to begin 2024 with a new name.
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Virginia’s Fort Lee, named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, becomes Fort Gregg-Adams on April 27. The Army is dedicating that base to the black officers, Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams.
Gregg, 94, will be the first living person in modern Army history to receive such a distinction. said the Army. Adams was the first black officer in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.
The Defense Department said some southern military bases are named after leaders who fought to secede from the United States as a conciliatory measure.
“Some Army bases, established in the lead up to and during World War I, were named after Confederate officers in an effort to garner support from local populations in the South.” says the department…