South Alabama’s U.S. Army base Fort Rucker, named after Confederate officer Edmund Rucker, is undergoing a name change that will become official in April.
Fort Rucker facilitates nearly all Army Aviation training and some training for the U.S. Air Force. It is home to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and the U.S. Army Aviation Technical Test Center, which conducts testing on developmental aircraft.
The fort was initially named Fort Rucker in 1942 when it officially opened during World War II.
Rucker was a Tennessee native and Confederate officer who began as a private under Gen. George Edward Pickett’s company. In November 1864, Rucker was appointed to acting brigadier general, but the Confederate Congress, which disbanded the following May, never confirmed him.
Rucker sustained wounds in the battles of Franklin and Nashville and was captured by Union forces.
After the war, Rucker moved to Memphis and worked in the railroad business. In 1869, he moved to Alabama as a railroad superintendent and became an industry leader in Birmingham in the 1880s, working in the coal, steel, sales, land and banking businesses.
According to reports, Army officials are renaming Fort Rucker Fort Novosel at a ceremony on April 10 at Veterans Park.
Enterprise-native Michael J. Novosel, Sr. was an aviator during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He received a Medal of Honor after saving 29 men in Vietnam despite sustaining heavy damage to his aircraft.
In August, the Naming Commission released an initial report to recommend new names for nine U.S. Army bases named after Confederate officers to Congress. It anticipated the name changes would cost $21 million in total.
The resort estimated that renaming Fort Rucker would cost $1.5 million.
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