With a simple command of “Uncase the colors,” Fort Liberty came into official existence Friday, June 2, at a ceremony to rename the North Carolina Army installation, that was Fort Bragg.
Led by Lieutenant General Christopher Donahue – the Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty – officials cased the colors of Fort Bragg, which the installation had been named since its inception.
“We were given a mission to redesignate our installation – no small task, with its history,” Donahue said. “We seized this opportunity to make ourselves better, and to seek excellence. That is what we always have done, and always will do.”
The change from Bragg to Liberty came about after Congress decided to rename installations that were named in honor of Confederate generals. Fort Bragg was among nine posts that have been, or will be changing names. A task force called The Naming Commission determined suggested names for all the installations, and an order from the Department of Defense called for those name changes to happen in 2023.
“As we change to Fort Liberty, our rich history and heritage will remain, along with our mission,” a release from Fort Liberty said. “Fort Liberty unites all of what this installation stands for – through a common connection, representing all who serve, and has a special significance to our military units and the community. It’s the people who make Fort Liberty what it is.”
Those nine bases: Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia; Fort Lee, Virginia; and Fort Pickett, Virginia.
All eight of the other installations will have names that represent people. But the change for Fort Liberty came about thanks to the suggestion of a Gold Star mother. After hearing input from community stakeholders for many options, Donahue said leadership settled in on Liberty after realizing the base meant more than just one person.
After reading off a long list of notable, and powerful names that easily could have represented the installation, Donahue said “A consensus could not be reached on just one (name). How could you choose any of them, and leave any of the others behind? How could you actually leave behind those who will come?”
Realizing that there “were no names that could define what this post was all about,” Donahue said it was Gold Star Mother Patti Elliott that made the suggestion for Fort Liberty.
“She said ‘My son died for Liberty.’ She said ‘We have to think bigger. We have to be better. This post is more than a name.’,” Donahue said. “In fact, liberty has always been here. She made us look into our history, and she made us look around.”
Donahue pointed out that the Liberty Point Resolves were signed in Fayetteville in 1775, even before the Declaration of Independence was signed. He also talked about the Liberty Ships that came through the Port of Wilmington, and how that same port today provides critical resources to secure liberty around the world.
“Liberty is in the fabric and identity of all of our units,” Donahue continued. “In the 82nd song the ‘All American Soldier,’ we are All American and proud to be, for we’re soldiers of liberty.”
New signage was already up at the All American Gate coming into post, and other signage around the installation is in the process of being changed. In addition to the Fort Liberty name change, nine roads on post have also changed names, including:
- Bragg Boulevard to Liberty Boulevard
- Reilly Road to Rock Merritt Avenue
- Randolph Street to R. Miller Avenue
- Armistead Street to Stiner Road
- Alexander Street to Gandara Street
- Pelham Street to Conde-Falcon Road
- Jackson Street to Merriweather Road
- Donelson Street to Benavidez Street
- Mosby Street to Shachnow Lane