The Naming Commission, as it is officially known, also reviewed Fort Belvoir, in Virginia, which was originally named after Army Maj. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys in 1917, but then renamed in 1935 after the Colonial-era plantation that once stood on its grounds. The panel decided that renaming Belvoir did not meet its mandate but recommended that the Pentagon conduct its own review.
“This was an exhaustive process that entailed hundreds of hours of research, community engagement and internal deliberations,” said retired Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, the chairwoman of the 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.”
Under the commission’s recommendations, Fort Gordon, in Georgia, would become Fort Eisenhower, after Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was a five-star general in the Army before becoming president. Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia would become Fort Walker, named after Dr. Mary Walker, an Army surgeon and noted abolitionist during the Civil War.
Fort Hood, in Texas, would become Fort Cavazos, after Gen. Richard Cavazos, who received a Silver Star for valor during the Korean War and who became the first Hispanic Army general, a four-star officer. Fort Pickett in Virginia would become Fort Barfoot, after Col. Van T. Barfoot, who received the Medal of Honor for his role in intense fighting against German soldiers near Carano, Italy, during World War II. He later gained attention for successfully fighting his homeowners association in order to keep an American flag flying in his front yard.
Fort Polk, in Louisiana, would become Fort Johnson, after William Henry Johnson, an African American Army sergeant who became one of the first Americans to be awarded the Croix de Guerre Avec Palme, France’s award for the highest valor, for bravery during a battle against German soldiers during World War I.
Fort Rucker, in Alabama, would become Fort Novosel, after Michael Novosel, who gave up the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve and became a chief warrant officer in the Army, which deployed him to Vietnam. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery while conducting a medical evacuation under fire during the Vietnam War.