FORT MOORE, Ga. (AP) — The Army's training hub in Georgia was renamed Fort Moore during a ceremony Thursday, replacing the name of a Confederate officer that had adorned the base for more than a century with that of a decorated Vietnam War commander and his wife.
The name change for the post formerly known as Fort Benning had been in the making for more than a year, since an independent commission recommended in May 2022 renaming nine of its bases commemorating Confederate officers.
Soldiers and dignitaries attended a ceremony Thursday unveiling the new sign that will stand outside the base headquarters. The post commander, Maj. Gen. Curtis Buzzard, welcomed attendees for the first time to Fort Moore, named in honor of the late Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and his wife, Julia Moore.
Located just outside Columbus, the Georgia base trains soldiers to fight in the infantry, to serve in tank crews and is home to the elite Army Ranger School. Roughly 70,000 soldiers and civilian workers are stationed there.
The name Fort Moore marks the first time the Army has named a base in honor of a married couple.
Hal Moore served in Vietnam as commander of a cavalry battalion based at Fort Benning and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Julia Moore successfully lobbied the Pentagon to adopt a policy that military families would be notified of war casualties in person rather than by telegram.
“Together Hal and Julie Moore embody the very best of our military and our nation,” Buzzard told the ceremony crowd. “And the renaming of this installation as Fort Moore is a fitting tribute to their lifelong dedication to the Army and its soldiers and their families.”
Founded in 1918 as Camp Benning, the Georgia base had long been named for Henry L. Benning, a justice on the Georgia Supreme Court who vocally supported secession after Abraham Lincoln won the presidency in 1860. Benning joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War and rose to the rank of brigadier general.
The name changes are part of a broader effort by the U.S. military to confront racial injustice. The Pentagon in January ordered that the names of Confederate officers and soldiers be stripped from bases, ships, streets and other places by the end of the year.
Some of the changes have already been completed. Fort Pickett in Virginia became Fort Barfoot in March. And Fort Hood, Texas, was renamed Fort Cavazos on Tuesday.
Others will soon follow. Fort Bragg in North Carolina will be redesignated Fort Liberty next month. Later this year in Georgia, Fort Gordon outside Augusta will be renamed for former President Dwight Eisenhower, who served as a five-star Army general. No date has been set.