The U.S. Army renamed Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia to Fort Walker in a historic move that symbolizes the continued efforts to recognize the accomplishments made by women to the U.S. Armed Forces. With this action, Fort Walker becomes the first military facility to bear a woman’s name exclusively.
In honor of Dr. Mary E. Walker, a groundbreaking figure in the history of the US Armed Forces, a renaming ceremony was held on Friday. Dr. Walker’s commitment to caring for injured Union soldiers during the Civil War, when she labored nonstop at field hospitals, laid the foundation for her legacy. The highest military honor in the U.S. Armed Forces, the Medal of Honor, was given to her in recognition of her extraordinary service and dedication. She is noteworthy for being the only woman to be awarded this esteemed title.
Due to Dr. Walker’s exceptional accomplishments, the base, which was once named for Confederate soldier Gen. Ambrose Powell Hill Jr., was renamed to Fort Walker. The Naming Commission, which was founded in 2021 after Congress overrode then-President Trump’s veto of the yearly defense funding bill, is in charge of this renaming as part of a larger endeavor.
In October of the previous year, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the renaming of nine U.S. military outposts based on proposals made in May. The 2020 racial justice protests attracted attention to the issue of racial inequality and highlighted the military career of Confederate generals. As a result, this effort was launched.
Since the renaming initiative began in January, a number of military sites have had their names changed to more accurately represent the variety and accomplishments of the people they now celebrate. To commemorate two Black Army trailblazers, Fort Lee was renamed Fort Gregg-Adams in April, and Fort Hood was renamed Fort Cavazos in May in honor of Richard E. Cavazos, the country’s first four-star Hispanic general who fought in the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Honoring a recipient of the Medal of Honor for service in World War I, Fort Polk was renamed Fort Johnson in June.
By the start of 2024, the extensive renaming of these sites is anticipated to be finished, ensuring a more inclusive and representative representation of the military history of the United States.