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Navy orders removal of Confederate flag; Army bases may be renamed

Navy orders removal of Confederate flag; Army bases may be renamed
A counter demonstrating group burns a Confederate flag in Washington, D.C. on August 12, 2018. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday has directed his staff to order the removal of Confederate flags displayed in public spaces on Navy property. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

June 9 (UPI) -- Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday announced Tuesday that he has directed staff to begin preparing an order that would prohibit the Confederate battle flag from all public spaces and work areas aboard Navy installations, ships, aircraft and submarines.

Also on Tuesday, Army leadership expressed an openness to renaming posts named in honor of the Confederacy.

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"The order is meant to ensure unit cohesion, preserve good order and discipline, and uphold the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment," Gilday wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

On Monday an Army official told POLITICO that the service is "open" to renaming the service's 10 bases and facilities that are named after Confederate leaders, and Tuesday Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley endorsed efforts to "explore the issue" of renaming those 10 bases.

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Last week the U.S. Marine Corps issued detailed guidance on the removal of Confederate imagery from Marine Corps installations, which Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger ordered in February.

In April Berger issued a memo explaining the directive in more detail.

"This symbol has shown it has the power to inflame feelings of division. I cannot have that inside our Corps," Berger wrote.

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As recently as February Army officials said there was no interest in renaming Army posts with Confederate-inspired names, but Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has since signaled his interest in a "bipartisan discussion" about potential name changes.

The posts in question are: Camp Beauregard and Fort Polk in Louisiana, Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett in Virginia, Fort Rucker in Alabama, and Fort Hood in Texas.

Most of the installations -- like the statues of Confederate leaders that have come under renewed national scrutiny in the last five years and again in the two weeks since the death of George Floyd -- were named decades after the end of the Civil War.

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The Navy still has several vessels named in honor of the Confederacy.

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