Virginia Army post renamed after Choctaw World War II hero Van Barfoot

The Virginia National Guard’s Fort Pickett is officially redesignated Fort Barfoot in honor of...
The Virginia National Guard’s Fort Pickett is officially redesignated Fort Barfoot in honor of Col. Van T. Barfoot, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient with extensive Virginia ties, during a ceremony March 24, 2023, at the Blackstone Army Airfield near Blackstone, Virginia.(Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS))
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 11:03 PM CDT
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BLACKSTONE, Va. (KXII) - An Army base in Blackstone, Virginia, officially changed its name from “Fort Pickett” to “Fort Barfoot” Friday in honor of Col. Van Barfoot, a Native American World War II Medal of Honor recipient who served with the famed 45th Infantry Division.

Barfoot’s daughter Margaret Nicholls, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, Director of the Army National Guard, and Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, gave remarks and unveiled the Fort Barfoot sign, which will mark the front entrance of the installation, according to DVIDS. The ceremony featured static displays from the installation’s tenets and ceremonial music provided by the Troutville-based 29th Infantry Division Band.

The press release adds, to commemorate Barfoot’s Native American heritage, Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, Assistant Chief Jack Austin, as well as Virginia-based Native American tribes were in attendance and performed ceremonial songs and dance for the gathered audience.

The post is one of nine U.S. Army installations being redesignated based on the Naming Commission’s recommendations to remove the names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America, according to Virginia National Guard The Commonwealth’s Guardian. Of the nine, it is the only Army National Guard installation being redesignated.

“Fort Pickett is the first of nine Army installations to be redesignated this year, and I could not think of a more fitting soldier to have the first honor. Thanks to this historic renaming in honor of one of America’s great heroes, members of the Army and our country will surely know of the impact Col. Barfoot had on our nation,” said Jensen. “May all Soldiers who train and serve here at Fort Barfoot, both now and for generations to come, do so in the same spirit of leadership, loyalty and selfless service to their fellow Soldiers and their nation. May we all be able to think and execute quickly under that kind of pressure, and find the personal courage when the moment calls us to do so, as Van Barfoot did without hesitation.”

“Our family is so proud of the man we called Dad, Granddad, and Great Granddad, for the love he shared, the example he set and his life of service to others,” Barfoot’s daughter Nicholls states in the Virginia National Guard The Commonwealth’s Guardian. “As always, he would not have felt deserving of this honor and humbly would have said God had a plan for him and he hoped he lived up to God’s plan. Having his service to this nation memorialized by this redesignation is a tribute to a man who epitomized what is great about our American Soldiers.”

To learn more about Barfoot click here.

It was a privilege to be asked to participate in the Fort Barfoot Installation Redesignation Ceremony at Blackstone Army...

Posted by Chief Gary Batton on Friday, March 24, 2023