NYC Fort Renames Street for Vietnam War Infantryman

The main street of Brooklyn, New York’s Fort Hamilton was renamed in May to honor a Vietnam War veteran who earned the Medal of Honor

A ceremony was held in May at New York City’s Fort Hamilton to rename a street for a Vietnam War veteran who earned the Medal of Honor.

Fort Hamilton’s main street was renamed John Warren Avenue in honor of Army 1st Lt. John E. Warren Jr. The street was originally named for confederate general Robert E. Lee.

NYC Fort Renames Street after Vietnam War Army Infantryman John E. Warren Jr.
A sign for the newly memorialized John Warren Avenue is displayed on May 20, 2022, at New York City’s Fort Hamilton. The base’s main avenue was named in honor of Army 1st Lt. John E. Warren Jr., a Vietnam War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient who died in battle on Jan. 14, 1969. U.S. Army photo.
Warren, a native of Brooklyn, New York, earned the Medal of Honor during a battle on Jan. 14, 1969. As a platoon leader serving with C Co., 2nd Bn., 22nd Inf., 25th Inf. Div., Warren was killed when he used his body to shield an enemy grenade. His act of heroism saved three other soldiers in his platoon from wounds or death from the attack, according to his Medal of Honor citation.

Warren, who was 22 years old at the time of his death, also earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart during his service in the Vietnam War. On Aug. 6, 1970, during a ceremony at the White House, the family accepted the Medal of Honor from President Richard Nixon on Warren’s behalf.

Warren’s sister, Gloria, later donated the medal to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Warren is buried about 40 miles east of Fort Hamilton at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York.

According to the Army, Warren’s name was selected over six other candidates for the street’s renaming. A board comprised of representatives of the fort and other military-related installations in the area chose to honor the Vietnam veteran.

During the John Warren Avenue dedication ceremony, Fort Hamilton’s garrison commander, Army Col. Craig Martin, said that the Army is an “institution that embraces diversity and inclusion.” He added that the Army “rejects hate and prejudice” toward its service members.

“This street links this community together, and it’s the backbone of Fort Hamilton,” Martin said. “That backbone should be named after someone worthy of all we are as a diverse New York City population.”

This article is featured in the 2023 January issue of VFW magazine, and was written by Dave Spiva, associate editor of VFW magazine.