They’re telling a new side of history!
The U.S. Army has announced it will be renaming Fort Lee in Virginia after two Black Army pioneers, NBC News reports. The base was formerly named after a Confederate leader and is one of nine posts being renamed as a part of the Defense Department’s commitment to removing “the names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that commemorate the Confederate States of America.” The post will be renamed Fort Gregg-Adams in honor of Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams, Maj. Gen. Mark Simerly, senior commander at Fort Lee, saying he was “deeply honored” to have them as the new namesakes.
Lt. Gen. Gregg served for 36 years in the Army and was responsible for helping desegregate the armed forces. He first enlisted in 1946, completing officer candidate school in 1949. His very first assignment was at Fort Lee in 1950 and he retired in 1981 as “the highest ranking Black officer in the U.S. military” at the time.
Lt. Col. Charity Adams served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps where she later served as command over the famed Six-Triple-Eight Battalion, the first and only unit of Black women to serve overseas during World War II. The Battalion has been honored with Congressional Medals after going largely unknown throughout history. Under Adams’ command, they disseminated 17 million backlogged pieces of mail and correspondence, restoring morale among soldiers throughout England and France during the war. Adams received the rank of lieutenant colonel, one of the highest ranks designated for women during the war.
The Defense Department’s Naming Commission recommended historically relevant figures that should be lauded for their inspiring contributions and leadership. In addition to Fort Lee, Virginia’s Fort A.P. Hill and Fort Pickett are also scheduled for renaming. The congressional Naming Commmission was created in January 2021 to right the wrongs done in history and do away with celebratory honors commemorating those who participated in the Confederacy to protect and expand the slave trade.
At age 94, Lt. Gen. Gregg has made history as the only living person in U.S. Army history to have a base named after him. Simerly thanked both Gregg and Adams for the numerous contributions.
“Their tremendous accomplishments - from World War II through the Cold War - speak to the important history of this installation and to the courage, dignity, and devotion to duty that we strive to instill in every Soldier training here at the home of the Army Sustainment,” said Maj. Gen. Simerly.
The renaming ceremony will be live streamed via Facebook and at various locations including the Army Women’s Museum located on the Fort Gregg-Adams base.
Congratulations and thank you for your service!
Cover photo: Virginia’s Fort Lee being renamed in honor of two trailblazing Black Army veterans/Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army