Black Veterans join the Congressional Black Caucus calling on US Army to rename Bases honoring Confederate Soldiers…

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The National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations has joined the Congressional Black Caucus in calling for the name change of the ten United States Army Bases named to honor Confederate Soldiers. The fact that the Army would name bases after men guilty of High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Treason against the United States Government in itself is worthy of a discussion.

We learned of the Congressional Black Caucus call from an article released by the Associated Press dated August 17, 2017 entitled, “Democrats aim to force Pentagon to strip Confederate leaders from Army base names.” The writers alleged Black Veterans are indifferent to the name change. We reached out to the Reporters to inquire about the source of the statement. Ms. Bergengruen acknowledged our inquiry by email stating, “I just wanted to let you know I’ve seen this – currently traveling but will get back to you as soon as I can.” Two days later we received the following response:  “Thank you for emailing McClatchy. Vera Bergengruen is no longer with the company.” The e-mail was sent under her name and e-mail address. (Hmm)

According to the article Black Veteran Leaders had suggested the matter was of little priority to us.  The comment does not reflect the thoughts of the Black Veterans we represent. Finding the statement shortsighted, my curiosity prompted my inquiry about the source. I guess we will never know the source. It could have come from the writers attempting to trivialize the subject. Either way, we credit the article for calling our attention to the subject.

We are lending our voice to support their initiative.  We recently wrote to the Army Chief of Staff voicing support for the name changes. In past statement, the United States Army maintained “Installations are named for a Soldier who holds a place in our military history. The historic names represent individuals and not causes or Ideologies. And, it should be noted that the names occurred in the spirit of reconciliation, not division.” Benedict Arnold holds a place in our military history.  We would like to think there will never be a Fort Arnold. However, his crime is no greater than the ten Confederate Soldiers who are commemorated with bases named in their honor.

  1. Fort Hood, Texas – Named for Confederate General John Bell Hood native of Kentucky. Joined the Confederacy even though Kentucky stayed in the Union.
  2. Fort Lee, VA – Named for Confederate General Robert E. Lee, a man who is said to oppose Confederate statues and monuments.
  3. For A.P. Hill, VA –Named for Confederate Lt. General A.P. Hill. Noted for his Soldiers killing Black Union Soldiers who surrendered.
  4. Fort Pickett, VA – Named for Major General George Pickett. Noted for hanging 22 captured Union Soldiers after hearing they once fought for the South.
  5. Fort Polk, LA – Named for Lt. General Leonidas Polk. Noted for his lack of success in combat and killed in action.
  6. Fort Rucker, LA – Named for Colonel Edmund Rucker. Note for being shot and captured in the Battle of Nashville. Released in a prison exchange and captured again when the Confederate Army surrendered in Gainesville, AL.
  7. Camp Beauregard, LA – Named for Confederate General Pierre Beauregard. Noted for firing the first shots at Fort Sumter, SC to start the Civil War.
  8. Fort Benning, GA – Named for Confederate Brigadier General Henry Benning. Noted for his advocacy for slavery.
  9. Fort Gordon, GA – Named for Confederate General John Brown Gordon. Noted for heading the Georgia Klu Klux Klan.
  10. Fort Bragg, CA/NC – Named for Confederate General Braxton Bragg. Noted for his ill temper.

It is time to remove the vestiges of a divided nation from public places of prominence. They are rallying points for those professing racial and religious hate. The ten United States Army Bases named to honor Confederate Soldiers are vestiges of those past eras.

African American young men and women makes-up a sizable percentage of the United States Army. To be garrison in posts named to honor those who advocated the enslavement of their forefathers and foremothers is offensive.  We recently “Saluted” the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for denouncing racism. This is the opportunity for them to put an exclamation point behind their statements.

There are many military leaders worthy of this honor, to include the following African Americans: Brigadier General Hazel W. Johnson, USA – First Black Woman General, General Roscoe Robinson, USA – First Black 4 Star, Brigadier General Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., USA – the First Black General in the United States Armed Forces, Major General Charles Rogers, USA-the only Black Flag Officer with a Congressional Medal of Honor and Colonel Charles Young, USCT – the highest ranking Black Officer in the Armed Forces in the early 1900s, they all gave full measure to the service of the Nation.

 

We have launched a Petition Drive calling for the name changes.  We would like to hand deliver 50.000 signatures to the Department of the Army. Please visit and sign our on-line Petition at the following link:

https://www.change.org/p/the-department-of-the-army-seeking-public-support-to-change-names-of-military-bases-honoring-confederate-soldiers?recruiter=499998410&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

 

Together we can make a difference!

Article By: Charles Blatcher, III

Chairman, National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations

cnmmmf@aol.com