Military installation renaming commission narrows down list to 100

Published 6:59 am Friday, March 18, 2022

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By Pamela Sleezer

American Press

Vernon Parish officials and residents are one step closer to learning what the new moniker for its military installation will be.

The commission charged with the task of renaming nine Army installations — including Fort Polk — has narrowed its list of potential new names to 100, according to an update on the Naming Commission’s website.

The updated list, dated March 17, includes 100 names gleamed from more than 34,000 suggestions submitted by Americans during the commission’s open submission and review period last year.  The names are listed on the Naming Commission’s website, but are not separated by which installation they are suggested or being specifically considered for.

The names range from historical icons such as Harriet Tubman to political figures including Colin Powell and Dwight Eisenhower. Other names include Marcario Garcia, the first Mexican immigrant to receive the Medal of Honor; Charles Chibitty, a Native American who served as an Army code talker in World War II; William Carney, the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor; Ruby Bradley, a Nurse Corps officer who became one of the most decorated women in the military; and Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated combat soldiers of World War II.

Names with ties to Louisiana include Hugh Clowers Thompson Jr., a U.S. Army Major who in 1998 received the Soldiers Medal of Heroism for his actions in 1968 when he protected innocent civilians in the South Vietnamese village of My Lai from U.S. soldiers who were murdering them. Thompson went on to testify against those responsible for what has now become known as the My Lai Massacre. After the military, he became a helicopter pilot for the oil industry operating in the Gulf of Mexico. He died in 2006 and was buried in Lafayette.

The Naming Commission is expected to continue talks with installation leaders and communities over the next several months to discuss the names before submitting the final recommendations to Congress by Oct. 1. Commission officials have said the new names are expected to go into effect in January 2024.