Projected Cost To Scrub Army Bases Of Confederate References Nearly Doubles As First Of Nine Bases Is Renamed
Micaela Burrow on March 24, 2023
The cost to rename nine military bases, expunging references seen to honor the Confederacy, could cost up to twice as much as initially anticipated, according to Army Times.
The Department of Defense (DOD) allocated $1 million to the Army after a congressionally-mandated review instructed the Army to redesignate nine installations with titles that do not commemorate the Confederacy or individuals who supported it, but “that’s not anywhere close to what we need,” Lt. Gen. Kevin Vereen, Army deputy chief of staff for Installations, said, according to Army Times. The Army now anticipates the process will cost $39 million after the Naming Commission estimated it would cost around $21 million.
“The Army is trying to solve the funding piece, and we’re trying to solve it internally,” Vereen told a House Appropriations Committee at a budget hearing, Army Times reported. “We’ll take the funds from the department.”
The process involves changing signs on installation gates, facilities and streets, replacing numerous smaller signs and technological changes, racking up the cost far higher than DOD estimated, according to Army Times.
Congress instructed DOD to identify and root out any symbols, buildings, equipment or other assets that might appear to commemorate the Confederacy in 2021, according to a statement. The Naming Commission presented its third and final report to Congress in September, detailing hundreds of items across the services, including names, insignia and other assets and that would need altering for an estimated cost of $62 million, The Washington Post reported.
Proud to have worked with @SenWarren to rename 9 U.S. military bases that had names of Confederates. Today we renamed Fort Pickett to honor Van Barfoot, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who all can admire. pic.twitter.com/LGk8cSnxLm
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) March 24, 2023
The Army garrisons will be renamed by the end of 2023, including Fort Pickett, Virginia, which was renamed Friday.
The Virginia Army garrison formerly no longer bears the name of Gen. George E. Pickett, who gained notoriety for conducting a mile-long charge under the orders of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee during the Battle of Gettysburg that resulted in thousands of losses under Union artillery, Military.com reported.
Fort Pickett became Fort Barfoot in honor of Col. Van T. Barfoot, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient.
Barfoot earned his decorations for freeing his units from Nazi machine gun attacks by single-handedly dispatching two German positions with grenades, killing four troops and taking three prisoners and prompting surrender from a third position, according to Military.com, citing his award letter. He later deployed in both the Korean and Vietnam and died in 2012 in Richmond at the age of 92.
Barfoot’s “magnificent military career was marked by heroism and decades of selfless service to our nation, and his legacy will serve as an inspiration for current and future generations of service members,” Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general of Virginia, said in a statement when the Army first announced the name change in February.
Earlier in 2023, National Guard units who historically fought against the Union discontinued use of campaign streamers bearing colors and markings of the Confederacy, according to Military.com.
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