Fort Polk renaming process moves forward
FORT POLK, La. (KALB) - As mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Joe Biden, a naming commission has been tasked to provide Congress with recommendations regarding the removal or renaming of bases, ships and other military assets that commemorate the confederacy or those who voluntarily served the confederacy, which includes Fort Polk.
On November 18, 2021, the commission visited Fort Polk in a closed meeting, only allowing key community leaders and stakeholders to attend. The main purpose for this meeting was to gather both sides in order to discuss possible replacement names for Fort Polk. Leesville Mayor and Fort Polk Progress Chairman Rick Allen attended the meeting and gave us an insight of the names that were on the table to replace Fort Polk.
“They had a slideshow with some of the names like Eisenhower and General Marshall,” Allen said. “Then there were some suggestions naming it after the military values like Fort Warrior or Fort Freedom or Fort Courage or something instead of someone.”
Retired Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, who is also the chair of this commission, said in a media roundtable held last September that they have had people vent their opposition to the idea of renaming. Mayor Allen told us the meeting at Fort Polk was very civil and that they understood that this was something voted by Congress and couldn’t be vetoed. Through the summer, the commission visited 10 out of the 12 military assets they were assigned and will finish their visits by the end of this month, but that’s not the end of the process.
“This commission has to also identify streets, ships, monuments or anything else that’s named after confederate soldiers, and they have to identify those assets that are owned and controlled by DoD and those names will have to be changed as well.”
Their final written report has to include items like the cost to remove or rename the military assets, the criteria and methods they developed to identify those assets and a plan for collecting public input when it comes to renaming.
The naming commission is still accepting name recommendations online. You can visit their website, thenamingcommission.gov, to have your idea considered. The form will close on December 1 at 4 p.m. The commission has until October 1, 2022, to submit their final recommendations to Congress. So far, they have over 33,000 submissions.
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