Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Naming The Next Aircraft Carrier

There's an interesting article in The Virginian-Pilot about the upcoming naming of CVN 78. This is an especially important decision because this carrier will be the lead ship of the post-Nimitz class of carriers; hence, the ship's name will be the class name as well. It seems that Senators Warner and Levin amended the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill to "direct" the Navy to name the carrier for President Gerald Ford (see Sect. 1013 on this page to see the wording of the amendment, in the SA 4211 section) -- although this was apparently changed to "encourage" before final passage. It seems that there's an organization who is extremely opposed to this; they want the CVN 78 to be USS America. Some excerpts from the top-linked article:
An 1819 act of Congress gives the s ecretary of the Navy responsibility for choosing ship names, a prerogative he still exercises, according to the Naval Historical Center's Web site.
Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., amended the 2007 defense bill to encourage the Navy to name the next carrier after Ford, who served in the Navy during World War II and grew up in Michigan.
"At least we were able to get the wording changed in the amendment from being a mandate to a recommendation," Waite said.
Warner is the outgoing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Levin is the incoming chairman.
The article goes on to talk a little about the recent naming of submarines:
Efforts to sway the Navy secretary to name a ship after a city, a hero or a famous person are not new, said Defense Department spokesman Kevin Wensing. When residents of New Mexico asked that a ship be named for their state, more than 20,000 signed petitions, he said.
"We said, OK, enough, we get it," Wensing said. In December 2004, then-Navy Secretary Gordon England named the sixth ship of the Virginia-class of nuclear-powered submarines the New Mexico.
Wensing would not disclose other names being suggested for CVN 78.
He did say, however, that the ship-naming process is so varied that it doesn't always follow any reason. For example, the three submarines in the Seawolf class are named Seawolf, Connecticut and Jimmy Carter, Wensing said.
"So they are named after a seawolf, whatever that is, a state and a former president. Go figure."
Ignoring for a moment the apparent fact that a DoD spokesman doesn't know that a seawolf is a fish, I find myself agreeing with the traditionalists. While I admire President Ford (one of the five consecutive Navy veteran Presidents we had between 1961 and 1980), I'm not sure if an entire class of carriers should be named after him. On the other hand, "America" doesn't have the most distinguished lineage of U.S. Navy ship names -- it's not bad, it's just not the best. If they do change Congress' mind and allow the SecNav to name the ship America, they'll hopefully continue naming the class for famous ships in American history. If they do, the 2nd ship of the class will absolutely have to carry what is arguably the most storied name in the U.S. Navy, that will otherwise go unused after about 2015: USS Enterprise. To lose that name from the fleet would be criminal. (Note: This topic was also covered at WizBang! back in June.)

13 Comments:

Blogger half said...

If the Enterprise is made into a museum ship can the name still be used? If not I vote for Lexington.

12/19/2006 6:27 AM

 
Blogger Steeljaw Scribe said...

half:

Absolutely - just one example, ex-USS Yorktown (CV-10) (part of Patriot's Point museum) and (the now ex-) USS Yorktown (CG-48) which was one of the early members of the Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruisers.

Me -- I'm all for bringing America back, followed by Enterprise then Midway, Coral Sea, etc. Keep the new CVN names to historic battles, that's my motto. Then again, I appear to have a penchant for charging windmills....
- SJS

12/19/2006 11:02 AM

 
Anonymous jordan said...

I'm not a navy aviation type, but just want to register support for names evocative of the Revolutionary War, or other great battles. I don't like the Gerald Ford idea -- it seems bland.

USS America, or USS Patriot, or something a little stronger and more nationalistic would be good.

12/19/2006 11:47 AM

 
Anonymous Marvin said...

USS Langley - A new class of Carrier for a new century.

or

USS Crusader - hmmm.. a Crusader Class Carrier...

12/19/2006 1:08 PM

 
Blogger 74 said...

Lets go back to our roots and call her the Langley.

12/19/2006 2:22 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the Brits have figured out the ship-naming thing much better than we have. Highly-valued constructive concepts can't be sunk...ships (and, as history shows all too well) nations can be. If the "USS America" were to have a bad day at the office, that would be hard not to take as a particularly bad omen.

Some of the HMS titles include: "Intrepid," "Astute," "Liberty," "Audacious," "Fearless," "Formidable," and, yes, "Enterprise."

Not to tempt fate, in our modern female-sailor era we should probably avoid the Brit's less-salutable titles such as "Impregnable" (that idea likely wouldn't survive the first deployment).

My suggestion (and we all know that the famous "anonymous" signature accompanies many great thoughts) goes in a direction we all know that we need to rally around and re-achieve:

"USS United (CVN-78)"

12/19/2006 4:44 PM

 
Anonymous EW-3 said...

Let's keep Ford off the short list at least.
Do we want to spend billions of dollars on a class of ships tht the media will quickly call the "Fix Or Repair Daily" class?

12/20/2006 1:39 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's GOT to be another Enterprise after the current hull is retired. It would be a fitting first-of-class name....

Speaking of the Enterprise, check out this link to their RX dept sea stories, good s*it here: http://www.mooj.com/rxdept_page1.htm

12/20/2006 10:24 AM

 
Blogger AbbieX said...

U.S.S. Liberty....to remind us of what once was...

12/20/2006 1:57 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that a historic name should be first in class like Lexington,Saratoga, or Hornet. President Ford is a nice man but not for a class of ship.

12/20/2006 2:17 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be nice for the Navy to reestablish some form of consistency in class naming. Harkening back to WWII - BB's named for states, CV's for famous/ships & battles, CA/CL's for cities, DD's for famous people. I'm OK with past Presidents names for CVN's - I suggest John Adams (major founding force of the US Navy), be so honored. However, at the risk of sounding hypocritical, there MUST BE an CVN "Enterprise" going forward when the current CVN-65 is retired. How could there not be?

3/23/2007 11:10 AM

 
Anonymous J.HALSEY said...

We should name the new carrier the U.S.S. VETERAN just once it would be nice to see a mighty warship carry the name of the men and women who really paid the price for the freedom everyone in this country enjoys and sometimes takes for granted. the quiet but continuos service we provided without fanfare or expectations of accolade would be honored by titling our country's newest and mightiest warship. she would sail proudly for the next fifty years in the face of both friend and foe with the name VETERAN which would prove to all who hailed her that there will always be those special ,select,awesome,amazingly proud men and women who are willing to sacrifice, defend and die to keep our UNITED STATES of AMERICA free! I vote for the USS VETERAN !!!!!!!! J. HALSEY

12/09/2007 2:07 PM

 
Blogger Hangar Door Plans said...

How about USS Bill Clinton? Some nice suggestions on here!

11/26/2009 9:24 AM

 

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