Ed Ross | Monday, February 13, 2012
The U.S. Navy announced last week that it will name its newest Littoral Combat Ship (LCS 10) after former Representative Gabrielle Giffords. I admire Giffords, and I believe she has handled her situation with grace and courage; and if Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus wants to name a ship after her, that’s his prerogative. Nevertheless, is it a good idea to name Navy ships after young, living former politicians, no matter how much we may empathize with them?
In the long history of the U.S. Navy the secretary has named other ships after people who weren’t presidents, Medal of Honor recipients, ordistinguished USN/USMC officers and enlisted men. In 1777 a ship was named after the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, 16 years before her ill-fated rendezvous with the guillotine during the French Revolution. That decision, no doubt, was a political one intended to garner France’s support during the American Revolution.
U.S. Navy ships, however, rarely are named after living Americans, not to mention foreigners. Currently only two ships are, and both are for U.S. Presidents who were bestowed that honor after a lifetime of service to their country. Those ships are the USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23), theUSS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77).
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