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Confederate Names and Symbols on Hundreds of Military Roads, Structures, Ships Under Review

Congress’ Naming Commission has revealed what else besides base names may get relabeled or removed—right down to a water tank.

How many of the streets U.S. servicemembers drive on, signs they pass, buildings they work in, and fields they play on are named for traitors to the United States? Possibly hundreds, according to a new list of features of U.S. military bases that may be renamed.

The list was released Wednesday by the Naming Commission, the group established by Congress to look into and furnish new names for bases and other features that honor the Confederacy. Just weeks ago, the group released its list of potential new names for nine Army bases.

The new list identifies 757 items the commission’s members will look at to see whether their names commemorate the Confederacy and to determine whether they should recommend their renaming or even removal. Most of the items are named after Confederate leaders, but others commemorate battles won by Confederate forces. Some warships are on the list because their official crests use Confederate iconography or mottos. 

The commission’s recommendations will be included in its report to Congress, which is due by Oct. 1, 2022.

On the list for review are 330 signs; 252 street names; 59 facilities; 26 markers, memorials, monuments, and statues; 24 buildings; 14 vessels; seven entry signs; nine structures; six recreation areas; six “land areas”; four “displays”; three paintings, plaques, and portraits; three “civil works”; and one water tank.

Many of these items are located at Army bases that are already slated for renaming: 213 at Fort AP Hill, Virginia; 140 at Fort Polk, Louisiana; 61 at Fort Rucker, Alabama; 41 at Fort Benning, Georgia; and 31 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York has streets, buildings, and memorials named after Robert E. Lee, an 1829 graduate of the school who later served as its superintendent before leading troops in rebellion against the government. 

The U.S. Naval Academy has two buildings on the list—the superintendent’s house and a classroom building—and one street. Several Navy warships also made the list.

Fort Benning has four ridges and a hill on the list that are named in honor of Confederate generals. There are also a few memorial pavers named after Confederate volunteers at the National Ranger Monument on the base. 

Jennifer Hlad and Ben Watson contributed to this report.