Army renames Virginia fort after woman who treated Union soldiers during Civil War

The U.S. Army has re-designated Virginia’s Fort A.P. Hill to Fort Walker — making it the first installation to be named solely after a woman.

During a ceremony on Friday, officials renamed the base in honor of Dr. Mary E. Walker.

Walker was known for treating wounded Union soldiers at field hospitals throughout the Civil War and was given the Medal of Honor for her efforts. She remains the only female to receive the United States Armed Forces’ highest military decoration to this day.

The training and maneuvering center was originally named after Virginia native Gen. Ambrose Powell Hill Jr., a confederate soldier.

Fort Walker is just one of many military installations to undergo re-designation based on The Naming Commission’s recommendations. The commission was established in 2021 after Congress overrode then-President Trump’s veto of the annual defense spending bill.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gave the all-clear for nine U.S. bases to be renamed in October last year after making recommendations in May. 

The effort started after racial injustice protests in 2020 brought the glorification of Confederate generals in the military back into the limelight.

The effort to rename the bases officially began in January, and several floors have been renamed since then.

Some other examples: Fort Lee was renamed Fort Gregg-Adams in April to honor two Black Army trailblazers; Fort Hood was renamed Fort Cavazos in May after Richard E. Cavazos, the nation’s first four-star Hispanic general who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars and Fort Polk was renamed Fort Johnson in June after a World War I Medal of Honor recipient.

The deadline to redesignate all the bases is the beginning of 2024.

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