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Efforts underway to honor Secretary of Defense Austin
Liberty County leaders consider renaming street in his honor
Lloyd Austin III
Lloyd Austin III

Liberty County leaders soon may be naming a road in honor of one the nation’s leaders.

The Liberty County Boys and Girls Club is re-starting its Humanitarian of the Year Award, and is asking local governments to name West 15th Street for its honoree, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III.

“With us being a military town, I would support it,” Commissioner Connie Thrift said.

County Administrator Joey Brown pointed out that 15th Street cuts through county and City of Hinesville lines. Renaming the entire road requires the city’s acquiescence, he said.

Brown recommended to commissioners keeping the 15th Street name for the entire road and having it named in honor of Austin, as the county had done previously with Earl Baggs Highway on Highway 17 and E.B. Cooper Highway on Highway 119 because of the number of homes and businesses that would have to change addresses.

Austin, who grew up in Thomasville and attended West Point, served as the 3rd Infantry Division’s assistant division commander for maneuver in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Austin retired from active duty in 2016 and was the first Black soldier to command a division, a corps and a field army in combat. He led the 10th Mountain Division, the XVIII Airborne Corps and U. S. Central Command and U.S. Forces-Iraq.

Austin also served as vice chief of staff of the Army. He was confirmed as secretary of defense in January 2021.

Gen. Austin required special approval by the House and Senate on a waiver allowing him to serve in the Secretary of Defense post due to a law mandating a seven-year gap between military service and the top civilian defense job.

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