US Army’s Confederate renaming project will cost $62 million


Removing the last vestiges of Confederate history from the U.S. military, including renaming nine Army positions, will cost more than $62 million, a congressional commission said Tuesday.

The cost was summed up by the Department of Defense’s extensive audit panel to identify, rename, alter or remove assets that commemorate the battlefield exploits of those who fought in the Civil War to preserve the ‘slavery. There are 1,100 such items in the military, the commission found.

The project highlights how deeply rooted Confederate symbology is within the armed forces, a tradition-bound institution where some units still trace their lineage to major Confederate victories and commanders.

The nine facilities to be renamed, all located in former rebel states, have been discussed for years. But those talks reached a crescendo after the 2020 police killing of George Floyd, which prompted a broad re-examination of race and racism in the United States. The commission was created in next year’s defense policy bill.

The commissioners said in a call with reporters that at Arlington National Cemetery they recommended removing a statue atop a Confederate monument that depicts slaves, stripping its bronze, and leaving the base and granite foundations. The commission had previously decided that Fort Belvoir in Virginia, named after an 18th-century plantation on the same land, was beyond its jurisdiction, leaving it to the Pentagon to decide whether it should be renamed.

Bases named for Confederates should instead honor women, minorities, panel says

While the commission made specific recommendations on what to rename the nine army posts, it declined to select candidates for the reflagging of two navy ships, saying that should instead be the responsibility of the Secretary of the Navy.

The USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser named for a significant victory under Robert E. Lee, once had pictures of Lee and Stonewall Jackson in the boardroom, said commission co-chairman and one-star general Ty Seidule. retirement.

The USNS Maury, an oceanographic survey vessel, is also expected to be renamed by the Secretary of the Navy, the commission said. The ship is named after Matthew Fontaine Maury, who resigned his United States Navy commission to join the Confederate Marine Service.

Fort Fisher Recreation Area in North Carolina, which is overseen by the Air Force, should also be renamed, the commission said. Its name is derived from a Confederate fortification named after a soldier killed in 1861.

Why are some army bases named after Confederates?

The many other items are relegated to military installations where few outsiders see them. For base names, the changes will require a complete overhaul of items large and small, from the signs outside the main doors to the stamps used to process documents for new soldiers and departing soldiers.

Some of the items, such as the panels, could be absorbed into military museums, Seidule said, while others could be discarded.

“The army or military has a process for disposing of equipment,” he noted.

About a third of the estimated cost will be spent on basic name changes, the commission said. The vast majority of the remaining cost, nearly $41 million, will be for items found in the military. It will cost just under half a million dollars to process Confederate items at the West Point and Annapolis military academies, the commission said.

The renaming of the nine bases will mark the first time that Army installations will be named after black women and soldiers rather than white men.

Last year, The Washington Post found that three National Guard units were honoring their Confederate heritage by using radio call signs and slogans with Civil War significance. Some individual units made changes in the wake of Floyd’s killing while others said they would await the results of the commission’s work.

While the commission presented its findings on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, the final part of its report will not be made public until it is delivered to lawmakers, said commission spokesman Stephen Baker. Final approval authority rests with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

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