Fort Benning will get a new name. Here are some of the possibilities

·3 min read

The commission tasked with renaming Fort Benning and other Department of Defense assets that commemorate the Confederacy is now deliberating what the Army post near Columbus will soon be called.

The Naming Commission received more than 4,600 suggestions for Fort Benning’s new name through an online submission period that ended Wednesday.

Military installations and other Department of Defense-owned assets must be renamed following the passage of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The move came on the heels of calls for racial equality and the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

The years-long renaming process is a step closer to the finish.

Who could Fort Benning be named after now?

According to a commission spokesperson, some of the submissions for Benning’s new name include:

  • Alwyn Cashe, who died from burn injuries in 2005 — three weeks after he pulled six badly burned soldiers from a vehicle he was riding in after a roadside bomb ruptured its fuel tank in Samarra, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division based at Fort Benning. Cashe is set to receive the Medal of Honor for his actions, the first Black servicemember to receive it since the Vietnam War.

  • William Carney, a Union Army soldier and former slave who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863. Despite being wounded and nearly killed, Carney never let the American flag touch the ground during the battle. He was the first Black servicemember to receive the award.

  • Henry Flipper, a Georgia native and former slave who became the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1877.

  • Felix Hall, a Black U.S. Army private who was lynched at Fort Benning in 1941. The killing is the only known lynching of an African American to have occurred on a U.S. military base, according to the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University, which has researched the case. Fort Benning officials erected a marker acknowledging Hall’s lynching earlier this year.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Theodore D. Martin, left, and U.S. Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, D-GA,right, unveil a historic marker about the lynching of U.S. Army Private Felix Hall in 1941. The marker is near the location where Hall was last seen on Feb. 12, 1941. 08/03/2021
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Theodore D. Martin, left, and U.S. Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, D-GA,right, unveil a historic marker about the lynching of U.S. Army Private Felix Hall in 1941. The marker is near the location where Hall was last seen on Feb. 12, 1941. 08/03/2021
  • Milton “Davey” Lockett Jr., who served as the Army’s first Black Ranger instructor at Fort Benning in 1959. Lockett also fought crime in Columbus neighborhoods in the 1990s, helping start Carver Heights Against Drugs.

Milton ‘Davey’ Lockett, Jr. enlisted in the Army when he was 17 years old. Lockett was selected to demonstrate his hand-to-hand combat skills to President John F. Kennedy during a Rangers-in-Action demonstration at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Lockett was a member of the first, now famous, “Rangers-in-Action”.
Milton ‘Davey’ Lockett, Jr. enlisted in the Army when he was 17 years old. Lockett was selected to demonstrate his hand-to-hand combat skills to President John F. Kennedy during a Rangers-in-Action demonstration at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Lockett was a member of the first, now famous, “Rangers-in-Action”.
  • George C. Marshall, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and American statesman who led the Army’s infantry school in the post-World War I era.

  • Hal and Julie Moore. The Moores lived in Auburn and are buried at Fort Benning. Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, best known for his heroic actions as commander at the Battle of Ia Drang during the Vietnam War, trained multiple times at Benning.

A family photo of Julie and Hal Moore with their children Greg, Steve, and Julie.
A family photo of Julie and Hal Moore with their children Greg, Steve, and Julie.
  • Colin Powell, the nation’s first Black secretary of state who served under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. Powell trained and lived at Fort Benning and in the Columbus area during his military career.

In this image from video made available before the start of the convention, former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
In this image from video made available before the start of the convention, former Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
  • Ralph Puckett Jr., a Columbus resident who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Joe Biden earlier this year. Puckett was awarded for his bravery during a critical Korean War battle at Hill 205 on Nov. 25 and 26, 1950 where Chinese soldiers surrounded Puckett’s company. Puckett was badly wounded during the fight.

President Joe Biden presents the Medal of Honor to retired U.S. Army Col. Ralph Puckett, in the East Room of the White House, Friday, May 21, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Joe Biden presents the Medal of Honor to retired U.S. Army Col. Ralph Puckett, in the East Room of the White House, Friday, May 21, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • William T. Sherman, a Union Civil War general known for his “March to the Sea” campaign through Georgia, during which his army captured the key cities of Savannah and Atlanta.

A commission representative declined to provide the Ledger-Enquirer with a complete list of the entries for Fort Benning. The commission received more than 34,000 submissions for renaming various military assets nationwide.

What’s next?

The commission must submit a written report to the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee by Oct. 1, 2022, that includes a list of identified assets and the costs to remove or rename them.

Under the act, the Secretary of Defense is expected to implement the renaming plan submitted by the commission before Jan. 1, 2024.

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