Defense

Panel says West Point, Naval Academy should scrub Confederate names

United States Military Academy graduating cadets arrive to their graduation ceremony of the U.S. Military Academy class of 2022 at Michie Stadium on Saturday, May 21, 2022, in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

The congressional Naming Commission on Monday released a new report recommending the removal of Confederate figures’ names from military schools.

The panel’s report suggested that the West Point U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy rename landmarks and structures that commemorate Robert E. Lee and other Confederate officers.

Seven Department of Defense (DOD) assets were flagged for renaming at West Point. Five of them were named after Lee, including a barracks and a child development center. Three assets were flagged at the Naval Academy, including an engineering building and the superintendent’s quarters.

The commission also called for the relocation or removal of a portrait of Lee in Confederate uniform currently on display at West Point and suggested the removal of a quote from Lee located near a central engraving of the West Point Honor Code.

A triptych display depicting Lee and three other Confederates that is also at West Point was flagged for modification. 

“Lee’s armies were responsible for the deaths of more United States Soldiers than practically any other enemy in our nation’s history,” the commission wrote in its latest report.

The commission also noted a Ku Klux Klan marker on the triptych and asked the DOD to create rules for dealing with such assets.

“This marker falls outside the remit of the Commission; however, there are clearly ties in the KKK to the Confederacy,” the commission wrote in the report. 

The suggestions for both schools together would cost just under half a million dollars to complete, according to the commission’s estimates.

The latest recommendations are part of a broader effort by the commission to scrub the names of secessionists who fought against the U.S. during the Civil War from the nation’s military bases, schools and other DOD assets. 

Earlier this year, the commission pushed for the renaming of nine Army bases named after Confederate generals. The move would cost an estimated $21 million, according to the commission.

Final recommendations from the commission, including cost estimates for the proposed changes, are due to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees by Oct. 1. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Congress need to sign off on the proposed changes before they can take effect.

Before the October deadline, the eight-member panel is expected to release a third report of its final findings addressing additional DOD assets that didn’t fall under the first two parts.

Tags Confederate names Confederate naming Congressional naming commission naval academy Robert E. Lee The Naming Commission U.S. military U.S. Naval Academy U.S. navy West Point West Point

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