Naming of Navy ships returns to tradition
“The secretary of the Navy’s office receives hundreds of letters and suggestions each year from citizens, military retirees, members of Congress, industry and others recommending names for U.S. Navy ships,” Capt. Pamela Kunze said.
“The Navy appreciates the interest of all who participate in the ship-naming process, and all inputs are given careful consideration. Naming ships after people or places which represent the American spirit or the tremendous dedication and sacrifice made by those in and out of uniform is an honor and a privilege which is taken very seriously.
“Throughout the 200 years secretaries of the Navy have been naming ships, there have always been exceptions to naming conventions for various ship classes. Generally speaking, names are chosen to honor individuals who have displayed uncommon commitment, service or courage, or to recognize geographic locations or traits representative of American values.”
Mr. Mabus has drawn criticism in the namings of three ships.
He named a San Diego-class amphibious docking ship, one used principally by Marines, after the late Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat. The previous nine ships in that class had been named after U.S. cities, a park and a county.
The naming angered members of the Marine community, who noted that Mr. Murtha had declared that Marines killed civilians “in cold blood” in the Iraqi village of Haditha in 2005. At the time, the Marines involved in the raid had not been put on trial. Only one Marine was convicted - on a charge of dereliction of duty.
Until that point, the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ships had been named for famous explorers or people who made significant contributions to the armed forces.
Critics said there were better choices if the Navy wanted to honor a Hispanic.
“The one that got the most attention from people who couldn’t really quite figure out whether that was the appropriate thing to do or even related much to the military was the Cesar Chavez and the Jack Murtha,” Mr. Blunt told reporters. “People in the Chavez case could not figure out the linkage.”
Until the Giffords naming, all Freedom- and Independence-class littoral combat ships had been named after U.S. cities.
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