Fort Bragg, NC Is Now Fort Liberty, Ugh
Fort Bragg, NC Is Now Fort Liberty, Ugh
The largest, by population, military installation in the United States Fort Bragg, North Carolina is now Fort Liberty, North Carolina. The home of the 82nd Airborne, 18th Airborne Corps and Special Operations Command outside of Fayetteville no longer bears the name of a Confederate General. The base has been purged of every mention. The new colors have been uncased. Hooah! Salute smartly and carry on.
Before we begin our journey from Fort Bragg to Fort Liberty, I must state that while I have two loved ones at that military installation, I have talked to neither of them about the name change. I do not know their thoughts on the subject and all opinions are strictly my own.
We know that Fort Bragg was named after Confederate General Braxton Bragg, a North Carolina native.. The suspicion has been that it was named so as a racist symbol. The name was designated in 1918 while Thomas Walter Bickett, a Democrat, was the Governor, so I would not be surprised.
Before this name change, I doubt very many of the soldiers at Fort Bragg could tell you for whom or why the installation was named. Nor did they likely care. The people that cared were all in Washington, D.C. In my experience, the soldiers care that they are the 82nd Airborne, or 18th Airborne or JSOC or USASOC. The place is almost cult-like in their pride. I do not mean this as an insult. My husband and I both spent our formative careers in a cult-like soap company. We loved it. Not everyone at Fort Bragg is Airborne. Those that are love it. The songs (Gory, Gory; All American Soldier), the stories about bad jumps or the one when the Colonel called you just after your parachute opened are hysterical and terrifying. The commitment to perfection is glorious. I am not saying they aren’t sh*tbags there. Sh*tbags are everywhere. I just so admire the commitment to excellence I saw at Bragg.
If Fort Liberty maintains and improves upon the “All the Way” commitment to excellence, no one will talk about the old name much in the future. That’s what the soldiers love. Not the name of the place. They love jumping out of planes or helicopters and being the best. Are you listening, Department of Defense? You have recruiting and retention programs? Soldiers of every religion, race, ethnicity or nation of origin who join the Army want to be the best and have that be their focus.
Here is the ceremony with General Christopher Donahue leading. He was the last man out of Hamid Karzai International Airport and was controversial during his time there:
Major General Christopher Donahue of the U.S. Military said to his British counterparts "Can you stop what you're doing because you're making us look bad" ie successfully extracting British Citizen's from Kabul. That Woke Military not going too well then? pic.twitter.com/f3uoeeZ4uh
— Nicola Charles (@nicola1charles) August 20, 2021
I appreciate the time and care that was taken in the name change:
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Lt. Gen. Chris Donahue, XVIII Airborne Corps commanding general opened a ceremony Friday morning with, “Welcome to Fort Liberty, the center of the universe,”
Donahue was the main speaker at the event which marked the official name change of North Carolina’s largest military installation. The name Fort Bragg, which referenced a Confederate general from Warrenton, was retired in favor of Fort Liberty, a name Donahue said reflects the ethos of those who serve.
“It’s a community – it’s veterans, it’s members of the community, it’s Gold Star parents, it’s active duty, it’s all of you,” he said. “We were given a mission. We accomplished that mission. We made ourselves better.”
The change came as part of an initiative by the Department of Defense to rename nine military installations bearing the names of confederate soldiers.
The new name, Donahue said, was suggested by a Gold Star mother who spoke up during public hearings on the change.
“My son died for liberty. We have to think bigger, be better,” Patti Elliot told those decision makers. Her son, Spec. Luca Elliot, was a military police officer. He was killed in 2011 by a roadside bomb during his second deployment in Iraq.
Donahue told the assembled troops and guests that Elliot inspired a new look at the history of the post.
On Friday, she said the name change extends a legacy built over decades by thousands who have served.
“It’s also the thousands and thousands yet to come,” she said. “With a name like liberty, you’re honoring all of them.”
“Liberty has always been here,” Donahue told the assembled crowd.
I appreciate Mrs. Elliott’s input. I cannot image her daily pain. I also understand not wanting to rename Fort Bragg after another hero. If they named it Fort Gavin or Fort Dunwoody, those individuals might someday fall afoul of the current zeitgeist and the base would have to be renamed again.
There were at least two other options that were so obvious, it’s sad. Everyone at Fort Bragg wear’s the AA patch for “All Americans”. Fort All Americans isn’t bad. It pays homage to the past and honors the future. The other phrase is “Honor”. Fort Honor. The 82nd Airborne is “America’s Guard of Honor”. They were given that name by General Patton, who knew something about fighting a war and never kvetched because someone else did it better. But, what the renamers really hate is the superiority of the team at Bragg:
When someone says Ft Bragg, nobody thinks about a Civil war General, but they think of the home of the 82nd Airborne , America's Guard of Honor. This is what these people hate.
— ken benson Shah of Greater Idaho (@borntoraisehogs) July 9, 2020
The Army is spending about $6 million purging every sign of Bragg from Liberty while our soldiers live in moldy barracks and some qualify for food stamps. Never mind, it’s Fort Liberty now. Hooah! Salute smartly and carry on.