Commission reviewing military symbols for Confederate ties recommends 29th Infantry Division be allowed to retain blue and gray patch – Baltimore Sun


A commission to review the names of military bases and symbols that can be seen as commemorating the Confederate States of America recommends that the 29th Infantry Division – a legendary force linked to Maryland that was among the first to strike Omaha Beach on D-Day – being allowed to keep his iconic blue and gray patch, ending a debate that has stirred up strong emotions over the past six months.

According to a Naming Commission press release, the chair of the eight-member panel, retired Navy Admiral Michelle J. Howard, sent a letter last month to members of the House Armed Services Committees. and of the Senate recommending that the Army authorize the division to retain the symbol. It is a round insignia with a yin and yang pattern with the blue half evoking the constituent units originally formed in the northern regions of the country and the gray half evoking the units born in the south.

The commission also announced that it would recommend that the official description of the Army’s heraldry for the 29th Infantry Division be amended to remove language that can be taken to suggest that the symbol implies Confederate service, according to its press release released on Monday.

Howard wrote in the letter that feedback from the 29th Infantry Division community played a role in his decision. The commission received hundreds of letters from Division supporters urging that the patch be kept intact. Political leaders on both sides of the aisle — including former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, and his successor, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin — took the same position.

“The 29th Infantry Division community indicates that it regards the symbol as a unifying symbol for America and is steeped in the sacrifices and service of former members of the 29th ID,” Howard wrote.

The commission, created under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, must submit its final report to Congress by Oct. 1 with recommendations to remove, rename, or modify “names, symbols, displays, monuments and accessories” within the Ministry of Defence. commemorating Confederation.

It will then be up to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to approve or reject the recommendations.

The commission recommended in May that nine military bases be renamed, in each case suggesting names to replace those of Confederate officers.

This article will be updated.

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