Name of Virginia’s Camp Pendleton will be changed from that of Confederate general; new recommendation due next month

Military

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Pedro J. Gonzalez, a hospital corpsman with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Southern Command, briefs role players about tactical combat casualty care at Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation, Virginia, as part of the Marine Advisor Course, April 19, 2018. The Marines went through the course in order to assess their readiness and improve their abilities to train foreign security forces during their upcoming deployment to Central America. The Marine Advisor Course is taught by the Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin M. Smith)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The process to rename Camp Pendleton — a military base in Virginia named after a Confederate general — is underway.

In a press conference in June, Gov. Ralph Northam said he supported renaming bases that carry Confederate names. After that, he directed his administration to review and recommend a replacement name for Camp Pendleton, which is in Virginia Beach, a governor’s office spokeswoman said.

A working group, which includes representatives from the Secretariat of Veterans and Defense Affairs and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, has been reviewing multiple names and will submit its recommendation to Northam by the end of February.

Renaming the Confederate bases from Northam was brought up during a press conference in June during which Northam urged Virginians to take Confederate statues down “the right way.” In July, legislation went into effect in Virginia allowing localities to remove, relocate or contextualize their Confederate monuments.

“Just like the statues, these names are divisive,” Northam said during the press conference.

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress in December also included an amendment cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) to rename other Department of Defense facilities that carry Confederate names.

The three bases impacted by that amendment in Virginia include Fort Lee, Fort Pickett, and Fort AP Hill. They will be renamed over a three-year process.

“Do you really expect us to believe that a society that continues to honor those who tried to destroy our country to save slavery will be serious about ending the racial disparities that exist today? You either support the equality of all or you do not. And if you honor those who opposed our equality, indeed, opposed the very notion of our humanity, what hope can we have about overcoming the real time injustices that are manifest all around us?” Kaine said in July.

Watch video of Kaine’s July 2020 floor speech on Confederate names here.

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