TOP STORY OF 2022: Fort Polk’s new name will honor Sgt. William Henry Johnson

The year 2022 signaled major changes ahead for the Fort Polk military installation and its surrounding communities.

Over the summer, Congress approved a list of names submitted to replace those at nine Army bases whose original names were found to hold ties to the confederacy. The move marked the official stamp on orders for Fort Polk to become Fort Johnson, with the transition expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Members of the Renaming Commission, who were tasked with the lengthy process of selecting the new names, said Fort Polk’s new name will honor Sgt. William Henry Johnson. Johnson was an African American Medal of Honor recipient from North Carolina who served in the Army during World War I, but his bravery was not honored until 2015.

The cost to change Fort Polk’s name is projected to cost $1.3 million, and will involve changing everything from signage and vehicle markings to stationary. The Renaming Commission submitted to congress a list of items flagged for replacement in August, which included the removal of two paintings of Leonidas Polk currently on display inside the installation’s museum and a display regarding the naming of Fort Polk.

The list also contained items that extended beyond the installation’s immediate area. The name change will mean replacing signs and items at the Toledo Bend recreational center that is utilized often by military members and displays the name Fort Polk.

The changing of Fort Polk’s name brought attention to historic Camp Beauregard, the largest National Guard training grounds in Louisiana. Because the post is owned by the state and not the federal government, the Renaming Commission had no authority to recommend a name change despite it being named after Confederate General Pierre Gustav Touting Beauregard, for whom Beauregard Parish is also named.

Though it may not be a federal installation, Camp Beauregard officials have said they are nearly 80 percent federally funded and have elected to transition to a new name without being ordered to do so.

The new name for Camp Beauregard will be ultimately chosen from a list of five suggestions by Governor John Bel Edwards and implemented this year.

Local

Fort Johnson a driving economic force for central, SW La.

Local

Sowela offering emergency medical training at Leesville campus

Local

Meet Your Neighbor: Robert Brevelle to head La. Genealogical and Historical Society

Local

Fish consumption advisory issued for Vernon Lake

Local

Donna Barger: Teaching ‘feeds my soul’

Business

Merchants & Farmers Bank promoting financial literacy through comics

Local

Patriot Brigade takes time to forge resilient warriors

Local

Martha ‘Ann’ Wilrye drives students to school, teaches when she gets there

Local

Leesville Volunteers of the Year: ‘We love this community’

Local

Jessica Veulema: Education the only career right for me

Local

Louisiana Lions Camp gets some TLC from Corvias volunteers

Local

Vernon school lunch menus April 15-19

Local

Krystal Smith: Being an educator is her calling

Entertainment

Local Authors Autograph Party to celebrate literary successes

Local

Leesville Fire Department makes city history with Class 3 rating

Local

SW La.’s eclipse forecast cloudy, wet

Business

Fastwyre plans grand opening celebration

Local

House Education Committee advances 10 Commandments bill

Entertainment

Local Authors Autograph Party set for April 13

Local

Army Emergency Relief 2024 campaign kicks off with day of fun

Local

Jeremy Deamon has a ‘passion for educating the youth of tomorrow and seeing them become successful’

Local

Kennedy announces $5.2 million in flood protection aid for Vernon, Calcasieu

Local

Vernon School Board voices opposition to education savings accounts

Business

Cleco power customers eligible to receive energy saving resources