By: Kerri O'BrienWRIC News
PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Fort Lee, Fort Pickett and Fort Hill in Virginia will be getting new names after Congress’ recent override of the President’s veto of the defense spending bill.
The bill lays out plans to rename military installations with confederate names. Local Congressman, Donald McEachin has been among those pushing for the renaming of ten U.S. army bases currently named after confederates, two are in his district.
“We live in a time of change. We live in a time of realization that we need to correct the wrongs of the past, this is just one of those types of wrongs that needs to be corrected,” McEachin said.
Last year, the Congressman wrote the Department of Defense requesting the name change. He called it wrong to memorialize those who took up arms against the United States.
“We shouldn’t be naming military installation after Confederates who at the end of the day tried to tear down the Republic,” McEachin said.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who is on the Armed Services Committee co-sponsored the amendment.
“We don’t name bases after Cornwallis, we don’t name bases after Benedict Arnold,” Sen Kaine said. “These were individuals who took up arms against the united states, who killed U.S. military.”
Kaine said the change won’t happen overnight — it will be a three-year process. First, an eight-member commission will be formed to evaluate the base names and set requirements for nominating and renaming the bases. Representative McEachin has his own ideas for Fort Lee.
“I think it be very appropriate to have Fort Arthur J. Gregg,” he said.
Lieutenant General Arthur Gregg began his career at Fort Lee during a segregated post and retired as the highest-ranking Black officer in the Army.
In the meantime Senator Kaine has his own vision too.
“I hope school kids will get involved and local newspapers will get involved,” he said. Kaine see the renaming of the three bases as an opportunity to go back to the books, research our history and engage the community in the process.
Fort Lee tells us they are awaiting official guidance and will be ready to comply with any changes directed by the Department of the Army.