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Opinion: What’s in a name?
Fort Bragg
This Jan. 4, 2020 file photo shows a sign for at Fort Bragg, N.C. The push to remove Confederate names from Pentagon properties, including storied Army posts, could eventually affect hundreds of items and facilities, the chair of the congressionally chartered Naming Commission said Friday, May 21, 2021. The initial public focus was on Army bases such as Fort Bragg, North Carolina, which is named for Confederate general Braxton Bragg, and Fort Benning, Georgia, named for Brig. Gen. Henry L. Benning, who served under Lee. (AP Photo/Chris Seward, File)

A task force is recommending the renaming of several military bases, including Fort Benning and Fort Bragg. Both among many others named after Confederate soldiers, who played on the losing side of the Civil War. Fort Benning will become Fort Moore, named after Lt. Gen. Hal Moore who fought in both North Korea and Vietnam. Fort Bragg will become Fort Liberty.

There are others on the list but Fort Benning and Fort Bragg stand out for me. Prior to the hit HBO Series “Band of Brothers” I was privileged to interview Carwood Lipton, played by Donnie Wahlberg in the series, the story of the legendary Easy Company of the 101st Airborne.

Carwood trained at Fort Benning and of course another Georgia landmark, Toccoa. Years after the war and a successful business career, he retired near Fort Bragg. He told me it was custom for aircraft of the 82nd Airborne when returning from training missions, often flying over his house to waggle their wings in salute to Carwood and all those who served. Wow.

I also have two nephews who served in the 101st Airborne having did their basic training at Fort Benning. We were there for both their graduations. Impressive stuff to say the least.

So those are the things I associate with Forts Benning and Bragg, a personal connection and by extension an understanding of the commitment of the thousands and thousands of young Americans who stood up and showed up to keep our country free. I had no idea who the forts were named after. I didn’t care. For me at least, it’s about who those forts trained.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says the names “echo honor, patriotism and history - names that will inspire generations of service members to defend our democracy and Constitution.”

Brian Olson