Georgia’s Fort Gordon was re-designated Fort Eisenhower on Friday, becoming the last of nine Army posts to be stripped of their former Confederate general names.
“Change is often necessary, but not often easy,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said during the dedication ceremony at the Augusta, Ga., base.
The renaming is part of the Pentagon’s effort to comply with recommendations made by the congressionally mandated Naming Commission last year.
The independent commission, set up in the wake of the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, was tasked with identifying military bases, buildings and streets on military property named after members of the Confederacy and recommending new identifiers.
“It was a moment of unrest and significant division in our country, and both political parties overwhelmingly agreed that names on certain military installations, and the legacies of those names, were only deepening our social and political divides,” Wormuth said of the effort to distance the military from Confederate figures.
The Georgia base was formerly named after Confederate Lt. Gen. John Brown Gordon, who would go on to serve as a governor and senator of the Peach State.
Brown was also a slaveholder and believed to be the head of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.
The installation’s new name honors former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star Army general who led the invasion of Normandy in World War II.
With the exception of George Washington, Eisenhower is the only president to re-enter the Armed Forces after leaving office.
“Eisenhower’s extensive military experience as a combined and allied commander, and as a US President symbolizes the professionalism, excellence, and joint nature of the base’s mission,” the Naming Commission said in its recommendation.
“This is where the past and the future can now comfortably reside,” Susan Eisenhower, the former president’s granddaughter, said during the renaming ceremony.
Fort Eisenhower houses the US Army’s Signal Corps, Cyber Command, and Cyber Center of Excellence.
The estimated cost of implementing all of the Naming Commissions recommendations is about $62.5 million, with the cost of the base renamings alone totaling $21 million.
The Army previously renamed Fort Benning in Georgia to Fort Moore; Fort Bragg in North Carolina to Fort Liberty; Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia to Fort Walker; Fort Hood in Texas to Fort Cavazos; Fort Lee in Virginia to Fort Gregg-Adams; Fort Pickett in Virginia to Fort Barfoot; Fort Polk in Louisiana to Fort Johnson; and Fort Rucker in Alabama to Fort Novosel.
The Army expects to complete the re-designations of thousands of streets and structures by Jan. 1, 2024.