The Department of Defense (DOD) will officially begin the estimated $62 million process of renaming or removing military assets seen as honoring the Confederacy, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
Each service has until Jan. 1, 2024 to implement the changes recommended in a report compiled by the DOD’s Naming Commission, created after Congress instructed DOD to identify and root out any symbols, buildings, equipment or other assets that might appear to commemorate the Confederacy in 2021, according to a statement. The Naming Commission presented its third and final report to Congress in September, detailing hundreds of items that would need renaming for an estimated cost of $62 million, The Washington Post reported.
“Each responsible DoD organization has submitted a comprehensive plan of action and milestones,” the statement read.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin agreed with the commission’s recommendations in October, but DOD could not take action until a congressionally mandated 90 day waiting period expired.
The services “are and will continue to take that seriously,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters at a press conference Thursday, saying he was “confident” the services would meet the deadline.
Over the winter break from Dec. 2022 to Jan. 2023, West Point began removing or relocating 12 Confederate articles, including a portrait of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, identified in the commission’s report, as well as bronze plaques bearing Confederate figures and references to the Ku Klux Klan.
The Army tallied the highest number of buildings, equipment, symbols and other assets representing the Confederacy, including 52 National Guard units who historically fought against the Union in the Civil War authorized to use campaign streamers bearing colors and markings of the Confederacy, according to the third report. A monument honoring Confederate soldiers interned at Arlington National Cemetery “reflecting the sanitized ‘Lost Cause’ view of the Civil War,” may also come down.
The 29th infantry division symbol generated exceptional controversy. Comprised for the first time of soldiers who fought on opposite sides during the Civil War, the division was notated by a yin-yang symbol in gray and blue.
“In its outreach to stake-holding parties, however, the Commissioners heard nearly unanimous feedback … that the meaning of the 29th Infantry Division insignia had evolved beyond its origins,” and for many, it represents Americans “strengthened by their diversity,” the report said.
The Commission ultimately recommended the patch remain unchanged, but its official description purged of “language that implies Confederate service, and reconciliation of the North and South.”
The Commission recommended the Navy rename the USS Chancellorsville, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser whose christening reflects a Civil War battle in which the Confederacy emerged victorious, and the USNS Maury, a survey ship named after a man who left the U.S. Navy to fight for the south.
New names will be “rooted in their local communities and that honor American heroes whose valor, courage, and patriotism exemplify the very best of the U.S. military,” the Pentagon said.
The Department of the Army, Air Force and Navy did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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