FORT WALKER, Virginia – The Army installation formerly known as Fort A.P. Hill became Fort Walker today during an historic ceremony, redesignating Fort Walker as the only Army installation named solely for a female.
Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, for whom the installation was redesignated, was an Army contract surgeon in the Civil War, a combat veteran, a prisoner of war, a champion of women’s rights and the only woman ever awarded the Medal of Honor.
Maj. Gen. Trevor Bredenkamp, JTF-NCR/MDW commander and Fort Walker senior commander was host for the ceremony and spoke proudly of the history and contributions of the installation to the preparedness of the United States Armed Forces and the surrounding community.
Bredenkamp yielded the podium to Lt. Gen. (R) Nadja West, 44th Surgeon General of the Army, who spoke eloquently about her childhood; her father who was a soldier, her 11 siblings, who found opportunity in the armed forces, and how her father bore witness to broadening and new opportunities throughout his life.
Lt. Gen. West tied these opportunities to the actions of Dr. Walker. “Among the many firsts that started it all, was Dr. Mary Walker… but I know, if there was no Dr. Walker, there would have been no Dr. West; plain and simple.”
After remarks, the speakers were joined on stage by JTF-NCR/MDW command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Veronica Knapp, and Fort Walker garrison commander and command sergeant major Lt. Col. Jason Duffy and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Bailey; all on either side of a large red curtain. Additionally, in the foreground, descendants of Dr. Walker, her great-great grand niece and nephew Cynthia and Greg Therriot stepped to a covered plaque with the historian of Dr. Walker’s hometown of Oswego, NY, Mr. George Demass.
The General Order from the Department of the Army was read, and the base was redesignated. The curtains were dropped to reveal the new installation main gate sign and the new memorial plaque for the visitor’s center.
The Army Song was sung, and the ceremony was complete.
Fort Walker is a Regional Collective Training Center in Northern Virginia between Fredericksburg and Washington, D.C., training over 40,000 active duty, reserve, and national guard Soldiers annually. The best training and support – ANYWHERE!