By Maria- Paula
A group of Congressional Black Caucus members led by Donald McEachin co-wrote, signed and sent a letter to the Chair of the Naming Commission, Admiral Michelle Howard intended to support the renaming of Fort Lee in Central Virginia after Lt. General Arthur J. Gregg.
This was after Congress voted for the Defense budget bill with a requirement that confederate monuments must change names within three years or lose Defense funding. Four of the Confederacy stations located in Richmond with statues already removed included Fort A.P. – Caroline County, Fort Lee – Va., Fort Pickett – Nottoway County and Fort Belvoir – Fairfax County.
Gregg was born on May 11, 1928 in South Carolina where he obtained his elementary education but moved to Newport News, Va. for his high school where he was acquainted to military lifestyle. He went ahead to obtain medical laboratory technician training in Chicago, Illinois but could not practice or handle white patients due to segregation laws that were in place then. This steered his enlisting to the U.S. Army at age 17 in 1945. The Army sent him to Germany as a medical laboratory technician, where he couldn’t serve due to lack of military run hospitals in Europe. Gregg, who began as a private soldier but retired as a renowned Black military logistician, researcher, developer and a celebrated three star general launched his thirty-five-year military career at Camp Lee.
In 2016, the widower and father of two girls was privileged when the US Army launched the LTG Gregg Award to honor his leadership and innovation.
After the Naming Commissions intention to give a new name to the military base, Rep. McEachin has for the second time supported the installation of a military name from Fort Lee to Fort Arthur Gregg. Apart from leading another group of both local and national leaders in sending a follow up letter to the Howard led commission, the Va. congressman together with Majority Whip James Clyburn had earlier sent Howard a letter fronting the redirection.
The letter read, “As Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), we write today to reiterate our support for the Naming Commission’s important and long-overdue mission to begin the process of renaming military systems honoring people who committed treason to reserve the institution of slavery in the United States.”
Before his retirement as Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Gregg commanded an Army depot, supply and services Battalion in Vietnam, directed logistics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and commanded a supply and services Battalion in Vietnam. Throughout his career, he improved supply performance, enhanced readiness, and better equipped Army warfighters. His mantra that leaders must always put the mission first and themselves last saw him through the social turbulence in the 1950s and 1960s. He stood out as a selfless leader with inspiring work ethic by enhancing readiness, improving supply performance and better equipping Army warfighters.