Fort Gordon to Fort Eisenhower: ‘Where the past and the future can now comfortably reside’

By Laura LeveringOctober 27, 2023

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FORT EISENHOWER, Ga. — Fort Gordon was officially redesignated as Fort Eisenhower during a historic ceremony Oct. 27, 2023, on Barton Field. The event drew hundreds of people including dignitaries, service members, veterans and family members of the installation's new namesake.

Now named in honor of Army Gen. and President Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, it is the last of nine Army installations to be renamed.

Former chair of the Congressional Naming Commission, Retired Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, said the ceremony was “the cherry on top” for her and fellow commissioners. The commission began working with the installation and surrounding community in May 2022 to determine a name, having narrowed it down from nearly 32,000 suggestions to 90, then 10 before making a final selection. What began as a challenge wound up being an easy choice by the commission.

“Getting out and hearing the community’s voices … this community just rallied around this name,” Howard said.

Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Eisenhower Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton, described Eisenhower as a “true American hero and leader respected by the world, a nation, and the people of Augusta, Georgia.”

Eisenhower graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1915 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. The following year, he met his wife, Mamie, with whom he went on to live the “Army life,” moving 33 times throughout his career, Stanton said.

“From a humble, hardworking upbringing in Abilene, Kansas, Gen. Eisenhower argued in his own words that ‘You’ve got to be for something.’ That must resonate with us, for in our profession as Soldiers, we are for something,” Stanton said. “We fight and win our nation’s wars to support and defend the Constitution of the United States — ‘This we’ll defend.’ We accept this calling just as Gen. Eisenhower recognized when he first swore oath upon entry to West Point.”

Eisenhower was only one of two U.S. presidents, the other being George Washington, who re-entered the military after his presidential term was complete. He requested to be reactivated so that he could again be called Gen. Eisenhower — a title he bore proudly.

In and out of military uniform, both during peacetime and war, the impact Eisenhower left on this nation cannot be overstated. From a cross-country trek in a truck convoy in 1919 “to literally see if it could be done,” to developing the concept for tank warfare and setting other things in motion, Stanton said Eisenhower was an advocate for innovation and driving the future.

“If you look at the things he pioneered during his two successive administrations … he was a technologist,” Stanton said, emphasizing that ‘we wouldn’t have the solutions that we leverage now on Fort [Eisenhower].’”

Adding to what Stanton shared about the pioneer, Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth took the audience back to January 1961, when then-President Eisenhower stood on that same field for an impromptu troop review.

“He used his brief remarks on that special day to reflect on his own military service and to describe the inspiration he continued to draw from Soldiers and Army civilians long after his own career in uniform came to a close,” Wormuth said. “Whether for leisure, contemplation, or healing — or for some combination of all three President Eisenhower chose to return to Augusta, and to this installation, time and time again.”

Eisenhower’s granddaughter and featured guest speaker, Susan Eisenhower, briefly reflected on her grandfather’s distinguished careers as a general and president, describing him as an “engaged and fun-loving” family man who understood the importance of rest and reflection necessary for a balanced life.

“My grandfather knew that he must sometimes allow his brain to rest, so that it could process the complex factors of critical decision making,” she said, adding that her grandmother, Mamie, “was convinced that fun must also be part of the stress-reducing regime.”

The Augusta area was one of Eisenhower’s desired places of respite, providing him with ample opportunities to hunt and golf, among other hobbies.

“Here in Augusta, he was buoyed by those around him and the beautiful countryside … only occasional merriment was mixed with frustration when he hit golf balls into what he regarded as a ‘very poorly positioned’ tree on the 17th fairway at Augusta National,” she laughed.

Certain that her grandfather would be “full of heartfelt appreciation,” Susan said it was hard to express how she felt to have the post named in her grandfather’s honor.

“We wish to express our thanks to the people of Augusta, Georgia, for making this wonderful tribute a reality, and to the Renaming Commission … our gratitude goes to all the people who have shown such enthusiasm for this change. This is where the past and the future can now comfortably reside.”

Garrison command team, Col. Reginald Evans and Command Sgt. Maj. Aaron Rose, cased the Fort Gordon colors and uncased the new Fort Eisenhower colors, signifying the historic occasion. The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of a Dwight D. Eisenhower bust, inscribed with the words, “For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the time,” as spoken by Eisenhower during his first inaugural address. The bust will temporarily reside at Eisenhower Conference and Catering Center until its final location within the new Cyber Center of Excellence Campus is completed.

Following the ceremony, honorary guests were invited to Eisenhower Conference and Catering Center for a reception that featured a special menu of Eisenhower family recipes and favorite dishes.

To learn more about Eisenhower’s career and the transition from Fort Gordon to Fort Eisenhower, visit the Fort Eisenhower Redesignation Ceremony page and the Cyber Center of Excellence Facebook page.