FORT BRAGG — People with ideas on what they think the new name for Fort Bragg should be need to start submitting ideas — sooner than later.
Col. Scott Pence, Fort Bragg’s garrison commander, has spent the week talking with residents about how the process to rename the country’s most populated military installation came about and what’s next. It’s part of a congressional mandate to rebrand all Army installations that are named after Confederate leaders.
Fort Bragg was established as Camp Bragg in 1918 and named after Gen. Braxton Bragg, a North Carolina native who served during the Mexican-American War and also was a slave owner who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Former President Donald Trump vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act, which was overridden by Congress in January to require the changes no later than 2023 for nine installations.
The urgency of receiving community input, Pence said, is because the House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee are asking for an updated report by October along with possible ideas on what to rename the post.
“The important thing that we have to do now is to make sure that any names that are discussed at that level of Congress are ones that are acceptable to the community,” Pence said. “We don’t want to be forced with something that comes out of our community and out of our sphere of influence.”
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, whose congressional district includes Fort Bragg, said that if the community doesn’t participate in the renaming process, a commission will decide on the new name. The national eight-member renaming commission includes military retirees and others appointed by the secretary of defense and congressional armed services committees.
When Congress considered the renaming in June 2020, Hudson said any decision about renaming the post should be made by the Fort Bragg community.
“Whether you agree or disagree, Braxton Bragg’s name will be removed,” Hudson said.
Hudson said he recognizes that the name Fort Bragg transcends Braxton Bragg and that others associate the name as being home to the airborne and Special Forces “who have fought, bled and died to free the oppressed and spread peace and liberty throughout the globe.”
He suggested consideration of renaming the local post after Edward S. Bragg, a Union cousin of Braxton Bragg.
“Fort Bragg is going to be renamed whether we like it or not,” he said. “If our community doesn’t come together with a consensus name, one will be chosen for us.”