Army bases that honor Confederate traitors may soon be renamed for these heroes

WASHINGTON — During the Jim Crow era, nine Southern Army bases were named for traitorous Confederate generals who fought to preserve slavery and white supremacy. Now, a commission established by Congress has suggested new names for the bases that “embody the best of the US military and America.”

Fort Bragg in North Carolina would be renamed Fort Liberty, if the recommendations are approved by Congress. The other bases would honor some of the Army’s most distinguished heroes. Here are their stories:

Pvt. Henry Johnson deployed to Europe during World War I in a black regiment known as the Harlem Hellfighters. The American armed forces were separated and the Hellfighters were not allowed to fight in the front line with other American troops. Instead, black soldiers fought under the command of their French allies.

This placed Private Johnson and his unit in the front line, “against all odds – black Americans in French uniforms”, at dawn on May 15, 1918, as German troops overran his guard post at the edge of the Argonne Forest, according to a biography provided by the naming commission.

Private Johnson threw grenades until he had no more to throw. Then he fired his rifle until it jammed. Then he hit the enemy soldiers with the butt of his rifle until he broke apart. Then he attacked the enemy with his bolo knife.

After the Germans withdrew, daylight revealed that Private Johnson had killed four enemy soldiers and wounded approximately 10 to 20. He had suffered 21 combat wounds.

For their actions, Private Johnson and his sentry on duty that night were the first Americans to be awarded the Croix du Guerre, one of France’s highest military honors. Almost a century later, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Sergeant Johnson the Medal of Honor.

She served near the front lines in Fredericksburg and Chattanooga and regularly crossed battle lines to treat civilians. She was arrested by Confederate forces in 1864 and traded for a Confederate surgeon four months later. After being denied an honorary military rank at the end of the war, Union generals successfully requested that she be awarded the Medal of Honor for her “patriotic zeal for the sick and wounded.”

Throughout her life, Dr. Walker has proudly presented herself as a gender nonconforming feminist. She refused to agree to “obey” her husband in his wedding vows and kept her last name, according to the National Park Service. She wore men’s clothes during the war, arguing that it made her job easier. After the war, she posed for photos in costume and a signature top hat, often with her Medal of Honor pinned to her lapel.

On May 23, 1944, in the foothills of the Italian Alps, Sgt. Van Barfoot single-handedly silenced three machine gun nests, disabled a German tank with a bazooka, blasted an artillery gun with a demolition charge, and took 17 enemy prisoners.

On top of everything else that day, he rescued two seriously injured American soldiers, leading them about a mile to safety.

“Any of these actions might merit a high reward for bravery,” the nominating commission wrote of Colonel Barfoot, a Choctaw soldier who received the Medal of Honor and touted in the media as an “army one man” for his actions that day.

He served 34 years in the military, including tours in Korea and Vietnam. Later in life, he again came to national attention for successfully fighting his homeowners association to keep an American flag flying in his front yard.

Fort Gregg-Adams would honor two pioneering African-American support officers, Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams Earley. The appointing commission noted the “too often unrecognized excellence” of the logistics and support units, many of which to this day are composed primarily of black troops.

Colonel Adams commanded the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, a separate unit of the Women’s Army Corps responsible for delivering mail to American soldiers during World War II. In 1945, the 6888th was sent to England and then France – becoming the first major unit of black female servicemen to be deployed overseas – where it handled nearly two million pieces of mail each month.

When the war ended, Colonel Adams was the highest-ranking black woman in the military, according to a National Park Service biography.

At the height of his career, according to a Washington Post article, General Gregg was the highest-ranking black officer in the Army, serving as director of logistics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and chief of staff. assistant staff for army logistics in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also participated in the desegregation of the military installation that would bear part of his name and was one of the blacks to join his officers’ club.

In February 1953, during the Korean War, Lieutenant Cavazos charged through enemy mortar and artillery fire, in “complete disregard for his personal safety”, to retrieve a wounded enemy soldier, which resulted in the young officer a silver star. Three months later, Lieutenant Cavazos led three separate charges on enemy positions and returned to the field five times to rescue his wounded men, earning him his first Distinguished Service Cross.

In Vietnam in 1967, Colonel Cavazos again “completely ignored his own safety” and led a charge “with such force and aggression” that enemy combatants fled their positions, earning his second Distinguished Service Cross. Throughout his career, General Cavazos has also won other awards and citations, including two Legions of Merit, five Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander in Africa and Europe during World War II, leading the liberation of North Africa, the invasion of Italy, and the D-Day landings. After the war , he was elected the 34th President of the United States, serving from 1953 to 1961.

Eisenhower rose through the ranks of the Army during the war, rising from lieutenant colonel in early 1941 to four-star general in February 1943. A year later, he became one of five officers ever named five-star “general of the Army.”

During two tours of duty in Vietnam, Michael Novosel Sr. rescued more than 5,500 wounded soldiers as a medevac pilot, earning the Medal of Honor for a particularly heroic episode. One of those rescued soldiers was his own son, Michael Novosel Jr., an Army airman whose helicopter was shot down in 1970. (A week later, Michael Jr. returned the favor by saving his father of a broken down helicopter.)

Mr. Novosel, the son of Croatian immigrants, joined the Army Air Corps in 1941 and rose to the rank of captain in 1945, flying B-29 strategic bombers. He was then transferred to the newly created Air Force and remained in the reserve until the 1960s. When Mr. Novosel was denied an active duty assignment to serve in Vietnam, he gave up his his rank of lieutenant colonel and joined the army as a warrant officer and helicopter pilot.

During a rescue mission in 1969, Mr. Novosel rescued 29 South Vietnamese soldiers under heavy enemy fire. He and his crew were forced out of the landing zone six times and had to “circle and return from another direction to land and extract additional troops”, according to his Medal of Honor citation.

By the end of the day, his helicopter had been riddled with bullets. In his own account of the episode during an interview with the Library of Congress, Mr Novosel said he was shot in the right hand and leg in his final save of the day – momentarily causing him lose control of the helicopter – but that he had escaped. with her crew and the last of her evacuees.

Many Americans know Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore as the stern, resolute colonel played by Mel Gibson in “We Were Soldiers,” the gritty, dark war movie that dramatized the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam. The general’s wife, Julia, played by Madeleine Stowe in the film, played an important role on the home front during this battle.

On November 14, 1965, Colonel Moore led his 450 troops into the infamous X-Ray Landing Zone, where they were ambushed by North Vietnamese soldiers who were 12 to 1 American. Bloody hand-to-hand fighting ensued, but Colonel Moore and his men held their positions for three days. Colonel Moore had sworn he would leave no one behind. He kept his promise and his actions earned him the Distinguished Service Cross.

At the same time, Ms. Moore offered emotional support to the families of the dead and injured at Fort Benning. Death and injury notices were sent by telegram at the time, issued by taxi drivers. Ms Moore began accompanying the drivers and offering her condolences to the families. His complaints and concerns led to the creation of Army casualty notification teams, and uniformed soldiers now report deaths or injuries to families.

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