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May 17, 2011

US Navy: We're Naming A Ship After Cesar Chavez

Welcome to your PC Navy.

James Gill, a spokesman for General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, said Monday the company suggested the name to honor its mostly Hispanic work force and the mostly Hispanic neighborhood, Barrio Logan, where the boat builder is located.

The other 13 cargo ships built by NASSCO for the Navy have been named after such notable Americans as explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and famed aviator Amelia Earhart.

Actually, all the ships in this class of supply ship have been named after notable explorers or figures in the US Navy. That is until the most recent ship, the USNS Medgar Evers. Evers of course was a noted civil rights activist who was assassinated in 1963, though he appears to have no connection to the US Navy. Chavez did serve two years in the Navy towards the end of WWII, which he described as, “the two worst years of my life.”

Congressman and Marine veteran Duncan Hunter of California is not pleased.

The decision “shows the direction the Navy is heading” by making a political statement instead of honoring Navy history and tradition, Hunter said in the statement.

“If this decision were about recognizing the Hispanic community’s contribution to our nation, many other names come to mind, including Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who was nominated for the Medal of Honor for action in Iraq,” Hunter said.

I disagree with Hunter on one point, as important as supply ships are, Sgt. Peralta's name deserves to be on a combat vessel.

The Navy's got a lot of problems with the way it names ships. We need to cut the crap about naming them after political figures and stick to the basics...states, cities, battles, heroes and traditional names like Constellation and Enterprise.

Before anyone points to this and cries "Racism!" let me just say, I'm opposed to naming the next carrier and a whole class after Gerald Ford. I'm sure he was a nice guy and I know he served in the Navy but no, just no. I think the George H.W. Bush is pushing it but barely makes the cut on a curve and the Vinson and Stennis should be right out.

Traditions are important. Sailors should serve on ships whose names reflect credit on the US Navy and provide an example of the services traditions. Political figures of any stripe or figures selected for reasons of racial pride, simply do not fit the bill.

Thanks to Slu for the heads up.

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posted by DrewM. at 05:58 PM

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