Army Base Names Are Changing. But to What?

Fort Hood is called after John Bell Hood, who joined the Accomplice Army at first of the Civil Struggle and commanded the Texas Brigade. One man at a gathering, Mr. Russell stated, recommended {that a} identify change was akin to a land seize. “I raised my hand and stated, ‘I don’t suppose we would like to have a dialog about land being taken from Fort Hood until you wanna peel that onion again.’”

Certainly, lots of of farming households have been displaced from their houses to make room for the bottom within the Forties, and the stays of members of the Tonkawa tribe have additionally been found there.

Fort Hood has been related to a number of brutal crimes in recent times, drawing undesirable consideration to the communities round it. Final yr, Specialist Vanessa Guillén was killed by a fellow soldier after being sexually harassed, and the poor local weather on the bottom was detailed in a scathing report by an unbiased Army evaluate committee.

“The lengthy shadow hanging over the identify change was how damaging to the neighborhood the errors of the dealing with of Vanessa Guillén’s homicide have been,” stated Kori Schake, the director of international and protection coverage research on the American Enterprise Institute and a member of the renaming fee. “Neighborhood leaders clearly don’t consider it’s as self contained. They actually need one thing that the neighborhood may be happy with and really feel related to.”

Not each neighborhood could also be as invested. “I’d say 75 p.c of the neighborhood do not know who Fort Polk was named after,” stated Kathleen E.R. Smith, a professor of historical past at Northwestern State College of Louisiana, on the Leesville/Fort Polk campus. (The bottom was named after Accomplice Basic Leonidas Polk, not the previous president, as some consider.)

A number of of the bases have been named after a Accomplice chief a long time after the Civil Struggle.

“Within the Forties, it was a type of gesture from the F.D.R. administration to additional safe Southern Democrats’ assist for the USA effort in World Struggle II,” stated Nina Silber, the chairwoman of the historical past division at Boston College. “It’s additionally fascinating, and, I feel, additionally painful in some methods, to take into consideration these Accomplice-named navy installations being residence to many African American troopers and their households.”

For individuals right here in Fayetteville, the weighing continues.

“I’ve blended feelings,” Mr. Fowler stated. “I perceive the harm, and if it’s a part of the therapeutic course of to change the identify that’s advantageous. My desire can be to go away it. But I’m not going to cry when it’s modified.”

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