Fort Rucker will be renamed after an Alabama native who earned the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, ABC News is reporting.
Rucker, named for Col. Edmund Rucker, a brigade commander in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, will be renamed for Michael Novosel Sr. Novosel, a native of Enterprise, was a military aviator for more than 40 years and received the highest military honor for his service in Vietnam. He died in 2006.
According to Army Aviation Magazine, Novosel enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and was one of 462 aircraft commanders who flew in the covering force over Gen. Douglas MacArthur as he accepted the Japanese surrender as part of the last mission of WWII. He later left active duty but was recalled during the Korean War as a Major. Novosel was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1955 and requested active duty for the Vietnam War in 1964. After being informed the Air Force was overloaded on senior level offices, he accepted an appointment as a Warrant Officer with the Army in September 1964 and served in Vietnam, earning the Medal of Honor for bravery under fire during a medical evacuation.
Novosel was the last active duty military aviator who flew combat missions in WWII. He ended his career as a senior trainer, advisor and counseling officer at Fort Rucker. A street at Fort Rucker was renamed for Novosel before his death in recognition of his contributions to Army aviation.
The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act created an eight-person Congressional commission to develop a plan for renaming bases, including Fort Rucker, named to honor Confederate leaders. Others on the list are Camp Beauregard, Louisiana.; Fort Benning, Georgia.; Fort Gordon, Georgia.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia; Fort Lee, Virginia; Fort Pickett, Virginia; and Fort Polk, Louisiana.
The new naming recommendations are expected to be formally announced later today. ABC is reporting Fort Bragg will be renamed Fort Liberty. Fort Hood will be named after Richard E. Cavazos, the first Latino to reach the rank of a four-star general in the Army. Fort Gordon will be named for Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Army general who led allied forces in Europe during WWII before becoming president.
Fort Lee will be named for Arthur Gregg, Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics for the US Army and Charity Adams, the first African-American woman to be an officer in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.
Fort Pickett will be named named after Van Barfoot, who received the Medal of Honor for his service in WWII and is of Native American descent. Fort A.P. Hill will be renamed for Dr. Mary Walker, a Medal of Honor recipient for her service during the Civil War. Fort Benning will be renamed after Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, a decorated soldier whose time in Vietnam is recounted in the movie, “We Were Soldiers.”
Fort Polk will be renamed after William Henry Johnson, a Black soldier who received the Medal of Honor for heroism as member of first African-American Army unit to engage in combat in WWI.
The commission received 34,000 suggestions, including 3,670 unique names, as part of its renaming efforts. The list was narrowed down to its current number “through careful review and deliberation.”
“It is important that the names we recommend for these installations appropriately reflect the courage, values and sacrifices of our diverse military men and women,” said retired Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, chair of the Naming Commission. “We also are considering the local and regional significance of names and their potential to inspire and motivate our service members.”
Congress and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin must approve the nine naming recommendations.