North Carolina’s Fort Bragg will be renamed Fort Liberty, according to a new list released Tuesday by the Naming Commission.
Fort Bragg, in Fayetteville, was named for Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg. Congress last year established the Naming Commission to rename military installations that bore the names of people tied to the Confederacy.
“This was an exhaustive process that entailed hundreds of hours of research, community engagement and internal deliberations,” said retired Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, the chair of the Naming Commission.
“This recommendation list includes American heroes whose stories deserve to be told and remembered; people who fought and sacrificed greatly on behalf of our nation,” he said in a statement.
Fort Bragg is home to the 82nd Airborne Division and the Joint Special Operations Command.
Congress tasked the Naming Commission with investigating names for military bases under the Department of Defense and coming up with new names. It will be up to the Secretary of Defense to implement the recommendations from the commission.
"We listened very closely to local communities," said retired Army Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, vice-chair on the commission. "We had several meetings with the Fort Bragg community."
Along with Fort Bragg, Congress will rename eight other Army bases named for Confederate officers in Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. The commission’s work does not include National Guard bases since those are controlled by the states.
The list includes some of the biggest military bases in the world, with Fort Bragg at the top of the list and Fort Benning in Georgia not far behind. Fort Bragg covers about 500 square miles and supports about 260,000 people, including soldiers, families, contractors and retirees, according to the Department of Defense.
The commission got more than 34,000 naming ideas from the public, with 3,670 unique name ideas. The commission narrowed that list down to 100 possible names.
The commission had until October to deliver the list of names to Congress for final approval, along with cost estimates and other details on changing the base names. The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act gives a Jan. 1, 2024 deadline for the Secretary of Defense to implement the renaming plan from the commission.
"The Commission will make its recommendations to Congress in a final report as mandated in the 2021 NDAA. From there, the report will go to the Secretary of Defense who has the authority to direct base renaming," according to the commission's website.
Rep. Richard Hudson, who represents the area in the U.S. House, has been critical of the renaming process.
“From day one I have said our community should decide the name of Fort Bragg, not a commission in Washington, D.C.," Hudson said in a statement earlier this year.
"I have pushed this commission to engage with the community more but do not think they have done that. Therefore I am concerned this list does not reflect views from our community and disappointed this commission has not engaged enough throughout this process,” he said.
Here’s the list of Army bases and their proposed new names:
- Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia – rename as Fort Walker after Dr. Mary Walker
- Fort Lee, Virginia – rename as Fort Gregg-Adams after Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams
- Fort Pickett, Virginia – rename as Fort Barfoot after Tech. Sgt. Van T. Barfoot
- Fort Benning, Georgia – rename as Fort Moore after Lt. Gen. Hal and Julia Moore
- Fort Gordon, Georgia – rename as Fort Eisenhower after General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower
- Fort Rucker, Alabama – rename as Fort Novosel after Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael J. Novosel, Sr.
- Fort Polk, Louisiana – rename as Fort Johnson after Sgt. William Henry Johnson
- Fort Bragg, North Carolina – rename as Fort Liberty after the value of liberty
- Fort Hood, Texas – rename as Fort Cavazos after Gen. Richard Cavazos
The Naming Commission is also considering new names for U.S. Navy vessels named for Confederate figures, including USS Chancellorsville and USNS Maury.
Editor's note: The story was updated to clarify the next steps for final approval of the name change.