Veterans open to idea of renaming Fort Bragg

Cumberland County News

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) – U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy is open to the idea of bipartisan talks regarding re-naming some Army posts around the country, shifting away from their Confederate namesakes.

One of those posts is Fort Bragg.

This discussion comes as more and more Confederate symbols are being taken down amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

Many people know Fort Bragg as the home of Special Operations Forces and the 82nd Airborne Division.

The veterans CBS 17 spoke with say that’s what they think of when they think of Fort Bragg, not the man it’s named after.

Gen. Dan McNeill spent a good chunk of his life serving at Fort Bragg.  

“I think of the ones I served with out there,” McNeill said. “I think of the units in which I served, I don’t think about some dead general.”

Marine veteran Kenneth Kelly grew up in the area.

“I don’t deal with the history of it or the name of it, I just know that I met some real nice people here on Fort Bragg and it makes a big difference,” Kelly said.

Vietnam veteran Squire Thomas was stationed at Fort Bragg several times during his long career.

“Fort Bragg is a place where I met a lot of good people,” Thomas said.

Fort Bragg is named after Gen. Braxton Bragg.

Bragg is from North Carolina, served in the Confederate Army, and was a slave owner.  

“Most all of us soldiers are so familiar with saying Fort Bragg, it would be kind of difficult, but I’m saying in the event that they do decide to rename it I would rather see it be named after Alvin C. York,” Thomas said.

Alvin C. York was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service during World War I.

Whether Fort Bragg changes names or not, these men will continue thinking fondly of their time here.

“It doesn’t bother me because history is history,” Thomas said. “The only thing we can do is look forward to trying to improve our country as a whole, stand together, all of this bigotry and stuff it’s really ridiculous.”

“I would say that whoever has the authority to make this decision, if they decide to make it, be judicious, be thoughtful,” McNeill said.

Officials at Fort Bragg say they aren’t allowed to comment about the possibility of renaming the post.

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