Army Base Named For Robert E. Lee Changed To Honor Living Black General

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The Army renamed Fort Lee, designated after the Confederate general Robert E. Lee, after two black officers who played a role in creating an integrated military in a ceremony on Thursday, according to a statement.

Fort Lee, now Fort Gregg-Adams, outside Richmond, Virginia, is the third of nine military bases that will be renamed by the end of 2023, according to a congressional requirement to scrub names and insignia in the military seeming to shed a positive light on the Confederacy. Fort Gregg-Adams now commemorates retired Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Gregg and the late postal commander Lt. Col. Charity Adams, becoming the first Army installation to be named after black military members, according to an Army release.

“The inspirational quality of the two leaders that we now honor is something that should echo in the mind and heart of every soldier and every American,” Major Gen. Mark Simerly, commander of the Combined Arms Support Command, said at the ceremony, according to Stars and Stripes. (RELATED: Next Army Base Gets New Name Honoring Vietnam War Pilot Who Medevac’d Thousands Of Troops)

In addition, Gregg is the first living person in modern history to have an Army installation named after him, Stars and Stripes reported.

“It really doesn’t make sense to name our military bases after soldiers who fought against America. Renaming them is overdue. Glad to see Fort Lee officially redesignated this afternoon to Fort Gregg-Adams!” Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who has been especially outspoken in his support for renaming U.S. military installations, said in a statement on social media.

Gregg, 94, enlisted in 1946 before former President Harry Truman signed an executive order ending racial segregation in the military, rising to the rank of three-star general by the end of his career in 1981, according to Stars and Stripes. He was a logistics officer and assigned to Fort Lee in 1950 before commanding one of the largest battalions in Vietnam in 1966.

In 1977, Gregg earned the rank of Lieutenant General and became director of logistics for the Joint Chief of Staff, retiring as the highest ranking minority of his time, the outlet reported.

Gregg told reporters of his satisfaction with the results of racial integration in the Army; “we are a better Army and we are a better country as a result,” he said at the renaming ceremony, according to Stars and Stripes.

Lt. Col. Charity Adams, who died in 2002, served in the fledgling Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1942 and later led the 6888th Postal Battalion, the first African American women’s unit to serve abroad, during WWII, Stars and Stripes reported. She was known for guiding the battalion to organize and deliver millions of letters at breakneck speed.

“The Army is sending a powerful message when it names a post that trains thousands of soldiers a year for a logistician and a postal clerk,” Charles Bowery, executive director of the U.S. Army Center of Military History, told Stars and Stripes. “Leadership comes in many forms.”

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