The Governor said he looked forward “to as President restoring the name of Fort Bragg to our great military base in Fayetteville, North Carolina.”
“And thank the people that have served there. And they’re proud of their service there. It’s an iconic name and iconic base. We’re not going to let political correctness run amok in North Carolina,” DeSantis said to cheers.
Fort Bragg was renamed “Fort Liberty” earlier this month, on the recommendation of the Department of Defense‘s Commission on the Naming of Items. The goal was changing names of facilities “that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America.”
DeSantis’ vow to restore the confederate name to the fort comes on a day when President Joe Biden visited the fort to announce plans to help military spouses.
The installation’s former name honors Gen. Braxton Bragg, a North Carolinian, who was known for owning slaves and losing key Civil War battles that contributed to the Confederacy’s downfall.
A native of Warrenton, North Carolina, Bragg was in his position until 1863, when after a defeat at Chattanooga, he was removed from that lead role at his request and became a military advisor for Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Despite his relegation, he would go on to be the on-the-scene commander during Confederate defeats throughout the war, including a failed attempt to protect the port in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Rather than lead protection of the port, Bragg stayed behind at the fort away from the fray, to the consternation of the fort’s commander.
Beset by interpersonal conflicts throughout the war, the defeated Confederate would seem to be a poor namesake for an American fort in the 21st Century. However, as President, DeSantis would restore that ignominious name to glory.
The renaming of the base was part of a broader effort by the U.S. military to confront racial injustice in the aftermath of the May 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. An independent commission last year recommended new names for Bragg and eight other Army posts that commemorate Confederate officers.
The installation is the largest U.S. Army base by population, with roughly 47,000 active-duty soldiers. The recent renaming didn’t play a role in selecting the base to serve as a backdrop for Biden to announce his executive order, according to an administration official who was not authorized to comment and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.