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Virginia military base Fort Pickett, named for Confederate general, becomes Fort Barfoot, named for World War II hero

A ceremony in Blackstone, VA., Friday began the U.S. Army initiative to rename nine military bases honoring Confederate generals.

The first to fall ― Fort Pickett — is now Fort Barfoot, named for Col. Van T. Barfoot, a Native American World War II hero 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 Gen. George Pickett, a Confederate general who led a failed charge of Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Col. Barfoot died in Richmond, Va. in 2012.

“Having his service to this nation memorialized by this re-designation is a tribute to a man who epitomized what is great about our American Soldiers,” Barfoot’s daughter Margaret Nicholls said at Friday’s ceremony.

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Barfoot reportedly spoke of training at Camp Pickett during an interview with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. He was a Choctaw Indian, and was born in Mississippi.

The Army also announced Friday that Texas’ Fort Hood, named for Confederate leader Gen. John Bell Wood, will be christened Fort Cavazos on May 9, according to Stars and Stripes. Gen. Richard Cavazos was the nation’s first Hispanic four-star general. The Texas native fought in Korea and Vietnam.

A Federal law passed in 2021 requires bases named for Confederate leaders to begin 2024 with a new name.

Virginia’s Fort Lee — honoring top-Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — becomes Fort Gregg-Adams on April 27. The Army is dedicating that base to 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, the Army said. Adams was the the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps’ first Black officer.

The Department of Defense said some Southern military bases were named after leaders who fought to secede from the United States as a a conciliatory measure.

“Some Army bases, established in the build-up and during World War I, were named for Confederate officers in an effort to court support from local populations in the South,” the deparment says..

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