An official commission has released its recommendation about Confederate names in the U.S. military.
From CBS News:
The commission tasked with reviewing Confederate-inspired names of military assets has recommended in its final report to Congress that the Defense Department rename or remove hundreds of items. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd and a national conversation about race in America, Congress’ 2021 defense bill mandated a new entity, the Naming Commission, identify whether hundreds of military assets, including U.S. military bases, memorialize the Confederacy and should be renamed.
[Commission recommends renaming hundreds of military assets linked to Confederacy, by Eleanor Watson, CBS News, September 19, 2022]
The names of nine Army bases are recommended to be renamed.
Earlier this summer, the commission recommended the U.S. Army rename nine bases that originally honored Confederate leaders.
The link is to a May article, U.S. bases that honored Confederate leaders to receive new names, also by Eleanor Watson, CBS News, May 24, 2022, which lists the nine bases: ”Fort A.P Hill, Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, Fort Gordon, Fort Hood, Fort Lee, Fort Pickett, Fort Polk, and Fort Rucker.” I spent time at three of them: Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Polk in Louisiana.
The commission suggested new names for the nine bases to recognize more diverse heroes, like Gen. Richard Cavazos, the Army’s first Latino four-star general, and Lt. Col. Charity Adams, the leader of the all-Black, all-female 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion in World War II
The commission estimates it will cost about $21 million to rename the nine bases.
The second part of the commission’s report identified items at U.S. military academies that should be removed or renamed, and the third part of its report, released to the public on Monday [September 19], lists hundreds of assets like street and building names the commission recommends the Defense Department rename or remove.
”Street and building names”? They can’t even leave them alone.
In total, the commission estimates it will cost $62.5 million to implement the recommendations in the three parts of its final report.
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, the vice chair of the Naming Commission, told reporters last week that the commission reviewed around 1,100 assets from across the services linked to the Confederacy.
The commission specified new names for the nine bases, but for the rest of the hundreds of items, the commission identified what needs to be renamed or removed and is leaving it up to the services to decide on new names. That includes new names for two U.S. Navy ships – the USS Chancellorsville named after a Confederate-won battle, and the USNS Maury, named after a commander in the Confederate Navy.
Chancellorsville was a battle. But it was won by the Confederacy, so the ship’s name must be changed?
As for the USNS Maury, it’s named after Matthew Fontaine Maury, the ”Pathfinder of the Seas,” ”Father of Modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology” and ”Scientist of the Seas.” According to Wikipedia, ”[Maury] published the Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic, which showed sailors how to use the ocean’s currents and winds to their advantage, drastically reducing the length of ocean voyages. Maury’s uniform system of recording oceanographic data was adopted by navies and merchant marines around the world and was used to develop charts for all the major trade routes.”
But it doesn’t matter what Maury accomplished and how it benefited the world, because he served as an envoy of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Many of the great men of the Confederacy were great men before, during and after the Civil War, and accomplished other things. But no matter. Their Confederate connection disqualifies them from any honor.
The commission received more than 34,000 submissions from the public with suggested new names on its website last year. Close to 500 of those names are included in the third part of the commission’s report as suggestions the Defense Department should draw from when deciding on new names.
This is not just about erasing the Confederacy. It’s about erasing American heritage.
According to the 2021 defense bill, the defense secretary has until January 2024 to implement the recommendations.
If the GOP takes over Congress, or part of it, in January of 2023, can we expect them to do anything about it?