During the Civil War, Henry L. Benning, from Columbus, raised an army regiment in Columbus and commanded Georgia's 17th Brigade. Benning became a brigadier general in the Confederate army. Fort Benning, the United States Army post located just outside Columbus and known as the Home of the Infantry, is named for General Benning.
Corporal Eugene Bullard, the world's first black combat aviator, is also from Columbus. There are five Medal of Honor recipients who are from Columbus Georgia. An Eternal Flame outside the Columbus Government Center recognizes the five Medal of Honor recipients.