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Fort Bragg now Fort Liberty as Army removes Confederate names

North Carolina’s Fort Bragg officially became Fort Liberty Friday as the U.S. Army continued distancing itself from memories of the Confederacy.

The base, named after rebel Civil War Gen. Braxton Bragg in 1918, now honors one of the words most closely associated with American ideology.

Liberty lives here,” the fort’s garrison Commander Col. John Wilcox told CNN. “It is part of our ethos and it’s part of who we are.”

The Congressional Naming Commission recommended in May 2022 that nine army bases be renamed to distance the military from those who led attacks against The Union. The initiative was inspired by the 2020 protests against the police killing of George Floyd, and those who pointed to Confederate statues and bases as part of systemic racism.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced in January that Fort Bragg would become Fort Liberty as they began implementing the renaming recommendations.

Bragg was a slave-owning general who lost Civil War battles that led to the freeing of slaves. According to the National Park Service, the West Point graduate was also “involved in Indian Removal” before leaving the military in 1856 to oversee a Louisiana plantation.

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Rebranding the base that once bore Bragg’s name will reportedly cost $8 million, per Military Times. Commander Col. Wilcox said Friday most front-facing signage had already been changed but the process is ongoing.

Lieutenant General Christopher T. Donahue, right, takes part of the Casing of the Colors during a ceremony to rename Fort Bragg on Friday, June 2, 2023 in Fort Bragg, N.C.  The U.S. Army changed Fort Bragg to Fort Liberty as part of a broader initiative to remove Confederate names from bases.

In March, Fort Pickett was redesignated Fort Barfoot. Fort Lee became Fort Gregg-Adams in April, around the same time Fort Rucker gave way to Fort Novosel. In May, Fort Benning was renamed Fort Moore and Fort Hood became Fort Cavazos.

The Army plans to begin referring to Fort Gordon as Fort Eisenhower come October. Before the end of the year, Louisiana’s Fort Polk is slated to become Fort Johnson, while Fort A.P. Hill will be called Fort Walker. Military Times says the price tag for re-naming all nine bases will come out to about $39 million.

Fort Liberty is the only name change representing an homage to an idea rather than an individual.

“We were given a mission, we accomplished that mission and we made ourselves better,” commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue told reporters after the official renaming ceremony outside Fayetteville, N.C.

Fort Liberty’s website says the base is home to 43,414 active-duty soldiers, making it the largest U.S. Army installation by population.

With News Wire Services

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