Base Names–Changing is not New

As a military librarian, I was in libraries at Ft Eustis, Ft Story, Ft  Ord, Ft  Myer, and Ft McNair.  All of them have changed names.

Army Library

Ft Eustis-Fort Eustis, located in Newport News, Virginia, was established in 1918, and has served a number of purposes, including an Army training facility for artillery and artillery observation, a prison, and a work camp. Beginning in the World War II era, the primary mission of Fort Eustis has been Army transportation training, research and development, engineering, and operations, including aviation and marine shipping activities.The 2005 Base Realignment, Allocation and Closure (BRAC) Act resulted in the greatest change in the look of Fort Eustis by relocating the Army Transportation School headquarters to Fort Lee in 2010.  The Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Headquarters replaced it in 2011.  The BRAC decision consolidated adjoining bases of different services, referred to as joint basing. Resultantly Fort Eustis and Langley Air Force Base were consolidated under the responsibility of the Air Force 633d Air Base Wing as Joint Base Langley-Eustis in 2010.

Ft Story- Joint Expeditionary Base-Fort Story, commonly called simply Fort Story is a sub-installation of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, which is operated by the United States Navy. Located in the independent city of Virginia Beach, Virginia at Cape Henry at the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay,[1] it offers a unique combination of features including dunes, beaches, sand, surf, deep-water anchorage, variable tide conditions, maritime forest, and open land. The base is the prime location and training environment for both Army amphibious operations and Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore (LOTS) training events.

Ft OrdFort Ord is a former United States Army post on Monterey Bay of the Pacific Ocean coast in California, which closed in 1994 due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) action. Most of the fort’s land now makes up the Fort Ord National Monument, managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Conservation Lands, while a small portion remains an active military installation under Army control designated as the Ord Military Community.

Ft MyerJoint Base Myer–Henderson Hall is a Joint Base of the United States military that is located around Arlington, Virginia which is made up of Fort Myer (Arl), Fort McNair (SW DC), and Henderson Hall. It is the local residue of the Base Realignment and Closure, 2005 process. It is commanded by the United States Army but has resident commands of Army, Navy, & Marines. Most conspicuous is the Arlington National Cemetery Honor Guard.   As an Army base, Ft Myer was first called Ft Cass, then Ft. Whipple and finally Ft. Myer.  It was formed from the Arlington estate owned by Martha Washington’s great-granddaughter, Mary Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee, who was the custodian of the estate until it passed to his son Custis Parke Lee.

Ft McNair-Fort Lesley J. McNair, on the point of land where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers join in Washington, D.C., has been an Army post for more than 200 years, third only to West Point and Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, in the length of service. The military reservation was established in 1791 on about 28 acres of what then was called Greenleaf Point. Maj. Pierre C. L’Enfant included it in his plans for “Washington, the Federal City,” as a major site for the defense of the capital. An arsenal first occupied the site in 1801; earthen defenses had been there since 1791.

Land was purchased north of the arsenal in 1826 for the first federal penitentiary where the conspirators accused of assassinating President Abraham Lincoln were imprisoned in 1865; after a trial found them guilty, four were executed there by hanging. Among them was Mary Surratt, the first woman to be executed under federal orders.

The post was renamed in 1948 to honor Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, commander of Army Ground Forces during World War II. McNair, who had been headquartered at the post, was killed in Normandy, France, July 25, 1944.

8 thoughts on “Base Names–Changing is not New”

  1. Very interesting post. As far as renaming Bragg is concerned I’m all for it. I would like to submit name Alvin York the war hero who was responsible for the 82nd being named the All American Division.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Derrick. To try to make the point that base names should not be changed because of some mythical connection with the base is totally bogus. Base names are often changed for a variety of reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bases also close completely, right? But POTUS can’t bring himself to even think about renaming bases named for dead, racist, traitors.

    My stepfather spent several months in hospital at Ft Benning recovering from wounds from a German Bouncing Betty mine in Italy. The Army had no problem with the fact the name of the post was an insult to all Black soldiers and civilians. Its past time for this shit to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

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