By Jefferson Wolfe
Fort Gregg Adams Command Information Officer
FORT GREGG-ADAMS, Va. — What was once called the Bishop-Anderson bridge, connecting two sections of Fort Gregg-Adams on either side of State Route 36, was redesignated in honor of the families of fallen service members.
The newly-named Gold Star Bridge carries 11th Street traffic over the four-lane Virginia highway from the main post to the Ordnance campus. It was opened in 2011.
During Friday's ceremony, plaques were unveiled at both ends of the bridge, with the Soldiers, civilians and Gold Star Families crossing from one side to the other.
Gold Star families are those who have experienced the loss of an immediate family member who died as the result of active-duty military service. Those who die in service to their country leave behind parents, siblings, spouses, children and extended families.
“It’s an honor to commemorate (Gold Star Families) permanently on this installation in a way we’ve never been able to do before,” said Maj. Gen. Mark T. Simerly, the commanding general of U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Gregg-Adams.
Simerly thanked the 35 Gold Star Families who attended for their sacrifice and their important role in the Fort Gregg-Adams community.
“It’s a treasure and a sacred honor to be a part of that community,” said Col. Jim Hoyman, the Fort Gregg-Adams garrison commander.
The process for renaming the bridge took place in January and February, he said. More than 20 streets and facilities are receiving new names this year, in addition to the post itself, which was named in honor of Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams in an April 27 ceremony.
The name has some symbolism, as Gold Star Bridge passes over SR 36, which is also named the Blue Star Highway, Hoyman added.
The Blue Star flag can be displayed by families who have members serving in the Armed Forces during a period of war. If that family member is killed A gold star is placed over the blue star to indicate that service member has died.
So now, similarly, the Gold Star Bridge goes over the Blue Star Highway, the garrison commander said.
“We couldn’t think of a more fitting name,” he added.
The bridge provides a vital link between the main post and the Ordnance campus.
‘With this, we can demonstrate that we will duly honor your loved ones for all that they have given,” Simerly said.
Being a Gold Star Family member is difficult, said Carol Wittman, a Gold Star Mother whose son, Sgt. Aaron Wittman, died on Jan. 10, 2013, while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.
"If you can remember the time you had with them, not the time that you lost with them, that really helps your well-being," she said.
The bridge is among those assets identified by the Naming Commission for redesignation. A complete list of the streets and other facilities with new names can be found here: https://home.army.mil/greggadams/redesignation.