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Fort Lee, Virginia, named for a Confederate general, will be renamed to honor Black Army pioneers

The fort will soon be named for Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams.
Army Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Gregg and Army Lt. Col. Charity Adams.
Army Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Gregg and Army Lt. Col. Charity Adams.The Naming Commission

Fort Lee in Virginia will be officially renamed Fort Gregg-Adams on Thursday after two Black officers who made significant contributions to the U.S. Army. 

The post is one of nine Army bases that will be renamed as part of the process of  redesignating bases named after Confederate leaders, according to an Army statement.

“We are deeply honored to have Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams as the new namesakes for our installation,” Maj. Gen. Mark Simerly, commander of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and senior commander of Fort Lee, said in the statement.

At 94, Gregg will be the only living person in modern Army history to have an installation named after him, according to the Army. Gregg’s military logistics career spanned nearly 36 years, and he experienced the challenges of desegregating the armed forces, which began shortly after he enlisted in 1946.  After completing officer candidate school in 1949, his first assignment was at Fort Lee in 1950, and when he retired in 1981, he was the highest ranking Black officer in the U.S. military.

In 1942, Adams served in the newly created Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, where she was later selected to command the first and only unit of predominantly Black women to serve overseas during World War II. She led the 6888th ​​Central Postal Directory Battalion, which was crucial to disseminating 17 million pieces of mail and correspondence for soldiers across England and France during the height of the war. Adams was eventually promoted to lieutenant colonel, one of the highest ranks attainable for women during the war, according to the Army.

Two other bases in Virginia — Fort A.P. Hill and Fort Pickett — were also scheduled to be renamed by the congressional Naming Commission. The commission was established in January 2021 to remove names, signs and other items associated with the Confederacy and Confederate soldiers who waged the Civil War, largely to protect and expand the slave trade.

The Naming Commission sought new names that are historically relevant and inclusive, and chose Gregg and Adams for their inspiring leadership, Simerly said.

“Their tremendous accomplishments — from World War II through the Cold War — speak to the important history of this installation and to the courage, dignity, and devotion to duty that we strive to instill in every Soldier training here at the home of the Army Sustainment,” Simerly said.

The redesignation ceremony will be live-streamed on Facebook and from locations including the Army Women’s Museum, which is at Fort Lee.