Fort Lee, a U.S. Army post named after the leader of the Confederate army during the Civil War, was renamed Fort Gregg-Adams in honor of two Black U.S. Army trailblazers during a redesignation ceremony Thursday.
"I hope that this community will look with pride on the name Fort Gregg-Adams and that the name will instill pride in every soldier entering our mighty gates," said Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg, one of the pioneers the Virginia post is renamed after, during the ceremony.
Among his accomplishments in over 35 years of service beginning in 1946, Gregg was the first Black quartermaster officer to rise to the rank of brigadier general, according to Maj. Gen. Mark Simerly, commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and senior commander of Fort Lee. When Gregg was promoted to lieutenant general, he became the first Black officer in the Army to reach a three-star rank.
The army post was also renamed in recognition of Lt. Col. Charity Adams, who paused her pursuit of a master's degree in psychology to serve in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II, the Army said. At 25, she was chosen to lead the sole unit of predominantly Black women in the European Theater of Operations. Her unit delivered mail to and from millions of soldiers fighting in Europe.
The military base had previously been named after Gen. Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Confederate forces.
During Gregg's remarks, he noted how proud he was to share the honor with Adams.
"Her performance in getting the mail delivered in a very chaotic environment has made the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion a legend that gets bigger every day," he said.
Simerly described the two pioneers as "exceptional leaders."
"They led with dignity, they looked the part, they maintained their composure and they led by example," he said. "In short, these two epitomize the professional qualities we seek in every leader who wears the uniform of the United States Army."
Fort Gregg-Adams is one of several Army installations being redesignated in the mission of removing displays commemorating the Confederacy, according to the Army.