COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence made it clear that the name change is a federal mandate that will take place by Oct. of 2023.

The federal order outlined in the National Defense Authorization Act mandates the removal of all Confederate names from Defense Department-owned properties.

Donahoe addressed the Columbus City Council Tuesday morning to give an update on the renaming process. He also took the time to hone in on the intertwining relationship between the City of Columbus and the Soldiers of Fort Benning.

Over 70% of U.S. Army personnel stationed at Fort Benning live off post, making them an active part of the Columbus community.

The general said, “they are your deacons, your pop warner coaches, your little league coaches … it is a true testament to the city of Columbus.” The Council and filled room gave General Donahoe a standing ovation to thank him for his service and leadership.

The process of renaming Fort Benning is underway. An eight-member naming commission from Washington DC has been put in place to set up a process that also includes the input of local communities.

On Thursday, April 14th a virtual meeting will be held with DC officials, Fort Benning officials, and local community leaders.

Final recommendations from the naming commission are due to Congress on Oct. 1, 2022.

Although the name will change, the General said the same goal and standards remain for the US Army.

“It’s kind of going back to Shakespeare, write a rose by any other name. So when you look at the installation, no matter what we call that installation, it will still. Where we train the world’s best infantry soldiers, the world’s best tank crewmen, and the world’s best cavalry scouts. We have that mission for the United States Army. We produce 14,000 parachutists a year, no matter what the installation is called. We’ll continue to do that … We’re going to have a name of the fort that we can all be proud of.”

Major General Patrick Donahoe – Commanding General U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence

By Oct. 2023, an official name will be decided and implemented. The General told News 3, 11 names are currently on the table none of which have been released yet.