Home » Budget Industry » Twenty Six US Navy Ship Naming Controversies

Twenty Six US Navy Ship Naming Controversies

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the U.S. Navy had no formal procedure for naming ships. It wasn’t until 1819 that Congress passed an act stating “all of the ships, of the Navy of the United States, now building, or hereafter to be built, shall be named by the Secretary of the Navy.” The secretary has fulfilled this role ever since, even though the passage expressly assigning authority for designating ship names was omitted when the U.S. Code was revised in 1925.

In addition to recommendations from Congress and the president, the secretary traditionally has been guided by a rather loose set of naming conventions—cruisers were to be named for battles, attack submarines for U.S. cities, destroyers for Navy and Marine heroes, and so forth. Controversy has erupted whenever the choice of a name strayed too far from those conventions, was seemingly swayed by politics, or deemed inappropriate for various reasons.

Ship-name controversies date to the early days of the Republic, but have become more prevalent in the latter part of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st.

USS Chesapeake. US Naval Historical Center Photo

USS Chesapeake. US Naval Historical Center Photo

USS Chesapeake —George Washington asked that the names of the first six ships in the newly formed Navy be inspired by the U.S. Constitution. It did not take long for a naming convention to be broken for the first time. After the USS Constitution, United States, President, Congress, and Constellation, Navy Secretary Benjamin Stoddert arbitrarily decided to name the sixth ship the USS Chesapeake.

Russian Alaska

Ships named for Alaska—In a 1958 issue of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine, Capt. William F. Calkins revealed that several ships that were to honor locations in Alaska had to have their names burnished off their hulls at great expense. When the names initially had been chosen, it had not occurred to anyone that many places in Alaska were named by early settlers from Russia. The U.S. Navy simply could not have Russian names on its ships during the Cold War.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) underway in 2013. US NAvy Photo

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) underway in 2013. US Navy Photo

USS Carl Vinson—In 1973, it was announced that Georgia congressman and longtime chairman of the Armed Forces Committee Carl Vinson would be honored with a namesake carrier. Even though Vinson had been one the U.S. Navy’s greatest champions, some critics did not think he merited becoming one of the few living people to be honored with a ship since Thomas Jefferson in 1814.

USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN-705) in 2010. US Navy Photo

USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN-705) in 2010. US Navy Photo

USS Corpus Christi—Los Angeles-class attack submarines are named after U.S. cities, but religious groups protested the selection of Corpus Christi because it meant that an instrument of war would bear the Latin phrase “body of Christ.” The Navy rectified the problem by modifying the sub’s name to City of Corpus Christi.

Emblem of the USS Henry M Jackson

Emblem of the USS Henry M Jackson

USS Henry M Jackson—When U.S. Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson died unexpectedly in 1983, President Ronald Reagan quickly moved to have the latest ballistic-missile submarine named in his honor. The residents of Rhode Island were not pleased, for the sub already had been named for their state. To appease the Rhode Islanders, an attack submarine was named the Providence.

USS Pittsburgh (SSN-720) underway. US Navy

USS Pittsburgh (SSN-720) underway. US Navy Photo

USS Pittsburgh—In 1984, Rep. William J. Coyne (D-PA) blasted the Reagan administration for naming an attack submarine for Pittsburgh, claiming that it was a shameless attempt to placate the residents of the area without having to address the city’s high rate of unemployment.

USNS Tenacious. US Navy Photo

USNS Tenacious. US Navy Photo

USS Intrepid—The carrier known as the “Fighting I” has a storied history that includes battling in the Pacific and recovering astronauts before becoming a popular museum in New York City. When the Navy announced in 1987 that a small (and some said ugly) ocean-surveillance ship would be the USNS Intrepid, veterans of the mighty carrier were insulted that the name of their beloved ship would be bestowed on a far less fearsome vessel. The name was changed to Tenacious.

USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) transits the Pacific Ocean in April. US Navy Photo

USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) transits the Pacific Ocean in April. US Navy Photo

USS John C. Stennis—Like Vinson, Congressman John Stennis had been a tireless advocate of a strong modern Navy. And also like Vinson, Stennis had a poor record for advancing civil rights. Both were fervent segregationists, a point that many thought should have precluded them from being honored with a namesake carrier.

WInston Churchill onboard a Royal Navy Ship.

WInston Churchill onboard a Royal Navy Ship.

USS Winston S. ChurchillChurchill was not the first foreigner to have a U.S. Navy ship named in his honor, but it still upset a number of individuals who thought ships should only be named for Americans. They overlooked the fact that Winston Churchill’s mother was American and he had been made an honorary U.S. citizen in 1963. However, the timing of the choice led some to question whether the administration of President Bill Clinton was trying to curry favor with British Parliament when the president was involved with the Irish peace process.

Former US president Jimmy Carter onboard USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) in 2005. US Navy Photo

Former US president Jimmy Carter onboard USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) in 2005. US Navy Photo

USS Jimmy Carter—By designating a Seawolf-class submarine USS Jimmy Carter, the Navy perhaps dodged the conundrum of having to name an aircraft carrier in honor of a former president who had not been a supporter of the carrier program. Fortunately for the Navy, the fact that Carter (the only president to have graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy) had served as a submariner, made the naming-decision an ostensibly appropriate honor.

Former First Lady, Nancy Reagan christens USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in 2001. US Army Photo

Former First Lady, Nancy Reagan christens USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in 2001. US Army Photo

USS Ronald ReaganIt took a bit of horse-trading to get CVN-76 named for Reagan, who was still living at the time of the announcement. The Clinton administration agreed to appease Reagan’s supporters by naming a carrier for the Republican president, but only after another carrier was named for Democrat Harry S. Truman.

President Harry Truman onboard USS Renshaw during the Navy Day Fleet Review in New York Harbor, 27 October 1945. National Archives Photo

President Harry Truman onboard USS Renshaw during the Navy Day Fleet Review in New York Harbor, 27 October 1945. National Archives Photo

USS Harry S. Truman—While still under construction, the USS United States was renamed Harry S. Truman as part of the compromise to name a carrier for Reagan. Truman was a curious choice to be honored with a carrier since he had canceled the first supercarrier in 1949 just a few days after the keel was laid down. The name of that ship? The United States. Truman thus managed to cancel the name “United States” twice.

Artists concept of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Northrop Grumman Photo

Artists concept of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Northrop Grumman Photo

USS Gerald R. Ford—When the Navy announced the new class of carrier entering service in 2015 would be named for former president and WWII Navy officer Gerald Ford, it angered veterans of the decommissioned USS America. The vets argued that Ford was not much more than an adequate president, so it was more fitting for the carrier-class to be known as America since the name has been part of Navy tradition dating to the War of Independence.

George H.W. Bush, during the construction of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) in 2006. US Navy Photo

George H.W. Bush, during the construction of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) in 2006. US Navy Photo

USS George H.W. Bush—Unsurprisingly, cynics took issue with a carrier being named for Bush at a time when his son was president, questioning the amount of influence the White House had on the decision. Others feared that the name would make the ship a constant target for nations and groups that resented the policies of the younger Bush. Defenders noted that in addition to being a former commander in chief, the elder Bush had served in WWII as a naval aviator.

USS John Warner
USS John Warner—The Navy had stuck with convention by naming the first 11 Virginia-class submarines after states before changing course and announcing that the 12th sub would honor U.S. Senator John Warner. Traditionalist griped that another type of vessel could have been named for Warner instead of breaking convention.

Navy announcement in 2009 of the naming of USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE-13). US Navy Photo

Navy announcement in 2009 of the naming of USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE-13). US Navy Photo

USNS Medgar Evers—Critics accused the President Barack Obama’s administration of ignoring Navy tradition and blatantly politicizing ship names by honoring slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers with a dry cargo vessel. Although the critics said that political activists had never before been given namesake ships, there had been several, including a destroyer tender named for labor leader Samuel Gompers and a cargo ship named for Amelia Earhart to recognize her role as a pioneering aviator and advocate for women’s rights.

USS John P. Murtha—The 2010 decision to name an amphibious transport vessel for the late Pennsylvania congressmen and former Marine was met with immediate condemnation from critics who maintained that Murtha was unworthy since he had accused a group of Marines of murdering Iraqi civilians “in cold blood” without knowing the facts.


USNS Cesar Chavez—Cesar Chavez was a dedicated champion of civil rights who strove to improve labor conditions, but many observers thought the 2011 decision to name a Lewis and Clark-class cargo ship after him was misguided. In addition to describing his service in the Navy as “the two worst years of my life,” Chavez believed strongly in nonviolence and probably would not have wanted his name on a warship.

USS Gabrielle Giffords—While noting that Congresswoman Giffords recovery from injuries suffered during a 2011 shooting was admirable, critics believed she had done little in support of the Navy during her short tenure to merit the namesake Independence-class littoral combat ship announced in 2012. It was argued that it would have been more suitable to name the vessel for any of the thousands of Marines and sailors who died defending the country.

uss lyndon b johnson

USS Lyndon B. Johnson—Following the 2012 announcement that a Zumwalt-class destroyer would be named the Lyndon B. Johnson, many Democrats felt slighted because LBJ was not being honored with a carrier, as several Republican presidents had been. Observers believed that LBJ may have been downgraded because the Navy had suffered a series of indignities during LBJ’s presidency, such as the capture of the USS Pueblo and the attack on the USS Liberty.

USS Liberty. US Navy Photo

USS Liberty. US Navy Photo

USS Liberty—The 1967 Israeli attack on the Liberty remains a hotly debated topic that involves conspiracy theories and accusations of cover-ups. In an unusual case of the name of the ship being more controversial than that of which it is intended to honor, a proposal to name a library in Wisconsin in memory of the Liberty met fierce resistance from the Jewish community which believed that the name was being sponsored by a group wishing to promote anti-Semitism.

USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601) ship patch.

USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601) ship patch.

USS Robert E. Lee, USS Stonewall Jackson, USS Dixon, and USS Hunley—In the 1960s, the U.S. Navy seemed to have forgiven their Civil War adversaries and named several ships after Confederates (including George Dixon who sank a U.S. Navy ship while commanding the submarine H.L. Hunley). With the issue of honoring Confederates having grown more contentious in recent years, the Navy has avoided controversy by not reusing the names of such ships after they were decommissioned.

Portrait of then Ensign Harvey Milk

Portrait of then Ensign Harvey Milk

USS Harvey Milk ?—In 2012, there was grumbling from conservative commentators over Congressman Bob Filner’s petition to have a ship named after San Francisco activist Harvey Milk. Milk, who had served as an officer in the Navy, was assassinated soon after becoming one of the first openly gay men to be elected to public office in California. The Navy has not announced any plans to meet Filner’s request.

UPDATED: In 2016, then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus named a planned fleet oiler for Milk.


    It is to sigh, isn’t it?

    • ’tis to weep.. as Lex would say.

    • Scott, Reagan was a great man, but I would be perfectly happy with renaming that ship the America, for example. Or maybe even Constitution. 🙂 Rename all the others appropriately.

      • Steve

        USS Constitution is still active on the Charles River in Charlestown. Oldest still-commissioned ship in the country.

        • sardiverdave

          And oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.

          • Vanguard

            I think you will find that’s HMS Victory. Laid down in 1759 and still fleet flagship

          • Steve

            Victory, while older, is no longer afloat, she is encased in concrete.

          • 1twothree4

            Launched in 1737.

      • Brian

        hahaha Reagan was a great man…..horrendous president though

        • TXranger55

          BS, Reagan was one of the best there was in rallying the American people. Barack Obama isn’t fit to lick his shoes.

          • Brian

            Reagan funded Terrorists –

            The attacks on 9/11 by al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden brought new attention to international terrorism. All of a sudden, Americans coast to coast wore their American flag pins, ate their freedom fries and couldn’t wait to go to war with anyone who looked like a Muslim. What Americans didn’t realize was that the same group that attacked the United States on 9/11 was funded by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Prepping for a possible war with the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan spent billions of dollars funding the Islamist mujahidin Freedom Fighters in Afghanistan. With billions of American dollars, weapons and training coming their way, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden took everything they were given and gave it back to the United States over a decade later in the worst possible way imaginable.

          • David J Gill

            Republican’s have very short and selective memories. If a Democrat’s actions had the unintended consequences you list we would never hear the end of it.

            Similarly, the Iraq war…a war we didn’t need…is the clear and direct cause of the rise of ISIS and horrendous conflict now underway in both Syria and Iraq. (Although the sYRIA conflict BEGAN for other reasons.) Yet another massive policy disaster caused by the Bush Admin’s failed policies in Iraq that Republican’s completely ignore.

  • Worldwalker

    Simple solution: Stop naming anything but destroyers after people. Not presidents, not Congressmen, not bureaucrats, not anyone. Continue naming destroyers after genuine heroes — ones who died in the line of duty, perhaps — but not politicians. Problem solved.

    • Jon

      One step at a time. I would settle for not naming ANYTHING government owned (Navy ships, bridges, public buildings, highways,etc…) after living people. Since they are still breathing they still have the opportunity to disappoint and disgrace.

  • gunnergoz

    No mention of the USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685). Melvin Laird probably is breathing a sigh of relief.

    • DSteve

      What’s in a name?
      “Sitting Bull” was not his name, but a truncated form of the English translation of his Lakota name. Ship crews usually rename their ships in lesser flattering terms – they would have fun with that one. If true and proper respect is the goal, his Lakota name should be used – if anyone could pronounce it. I can hear the Bos’n on the 1MC announcing the skipper boarding now “Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake” arriving”.

      • NofDen

        Oh, Shutup, shuttie.

  • JohnSto

    Imagine a carrier called USS Sitting Bull

    • SineWaveII

      I wouldn’t have a problem with that. He was a great Native American during a difficult time in our history (just like Robert E Lee) . I wouldn’t mind seeing ships named after the great American chiefs but I’m not sure how the Native American community would feel about it. I would be ok with renaming the Gabby Giffords the Sitting Bull.

      • SteveCT9

        Using Gabby Gifford’s’ name on a warship – well… whether the LCS is a warship is a different discussion 🙂 – is inappropriate. Forgetting the she is a liberal or conservative, I never knew of her as a serious supporter of our military or involved in military affairs. She is to be commended for her recovery from that bastard shooting her in the face and I wish her nothing but a full recovery and a long, healthy life but a United States warship should not be named after her.

        It would have been a cool thing if all the littoral ships were named after the great names like Independence, Freedom, Constellation, Essex, Wasp, etc. Enterprise, of course is a special case. I would have named the first “Ford” class carrier Enterprise. He was a caretaker president and undeserving of such an honor, as were Stennis and MURTHA – my God who thought that was a good idea?

        JMO, God Bless America!

        • Capt Woody Sanford

          Gabrielle Giffords is married to a Navy Captain/ Astronaut. He may have had something to do with the naming. Whatever the reason for it, I fully support it. She served the United States and was severely wounded ” in the line of duty.” Put her name on that strange-looking ship.

          • Ray Rittenhouse

            There was nothing Great about Gifford’s to warrant a naming anything??She didn’t see a Need for a Great Navy or how are Military defends our Rights everyday.This was just a Political Correctness thing People thought should have been made..I think more people would have been Happier with a Mall named after her,NOT a Navy Vessel….

          • Capt Woody Sanford

            I certainly honor your opinion, Ray, but I won’t change mine. How was the original ship-naming directive published or announced?– Navy Instruction, SECNAV order, OPNAV publication, Congressional legislation, Presidential order, etc?
            Woody Sanford

          • Ray Rittenhouse

            Thank you and as I respect yours..I haven’t changed mine either..The Presidential Order’s and Congressional Order’s are all swayed by Political Motive in one way or the other..I would in my opinion leave it to the Navy to decide and choose the Name of any Ship Commissioned…

          • Wolf

            I believe Giffords sat o the House Armed Services Comm.
            (if that makes a difference…)

          • David J Gill

            Do you really know her votes on military matters? Can someone be loyal to the navy but still vote against a budget increase, or is loyalty just about money?

          • NofDen

            Her name should not be on anything, but mail.

        • David J Gill

          This controversy might be well served with a compromise fo naming rather small ships after Gabby Gifford and other commendable individuals who were not military heroes or president’s

      • NofDen

        So,don’t name a ship after sitting bull.

  • sardiverdave

    I believe Churchill was half American. Sort of a foreigner, but worthy of the naming.

    • hwy505

      The a article refers to his mother being American.

      • sardiverdave

        The article was updated two days after originally published, too. Now, since this is almost a full year after the article was published, I can’t say for certain that his mother’s citizenship being mentioned was one of the updates, but it’s certainly possible.

        I recall reading the part about his “honorary” citizenship and thinking to myself that wasn’t necessary, since he effectively already had it.

  • Dave Carothers

    With great ship names like Intrepid, Ticonderoga, Oriskany, Saratoga, Midway, Coral Sea
    (the list goes on) please stop naming your/our ships after congress-critters, ex-presidents etc. They all may be great men (and women) in one way or another but it
    opens way too many doors to silly and not so silly controversy. If you have to name ships
    after people, name them after people who pay the ultimate price in war. No one
    can argue they didn’t deserve the honor.

    • David J Gill

      ….Yorktown, Lexington.
      And names with a significant tradition:
      8 ships since 1775 have been named HORNET.
      11 ships since 1775 have been named WASP.

    • raptureready


      That name should only grace our mightiest warship. It should be codified into law that CV’s and CVN’s should be named for our nation and the many battles we have fought during our founding, during our wars, battles where our soldiers and sailors shed so much blood.

      State names should honor our mightiest subs, SSBN’s or SSGN’s. City’s for CG’s. Sea creatures for SSN’s.

      You want to honor a serviceman who has given thier life in the service of our country? We honor their memory by naming a DD or a DDG after them. For a politician, I would name an FF or a FFG.

      That’s how I feel and that CVN-78 should have borne the name America, not LHA-6.

      I am proud to have served on CV-66, in V-2 Div, Waist Cats from June 1981, until November 1984.

  • jack anderson

    As I recall, cruisers were named for cities and submarines for fish, until Hyman Rickover realized fish don’t vote. That being said, this new practice of DC naming ships for the flavor of the hour seems inappropriate. While Ford was heroic on the USS Monterey during the hurricane, his heroism appears insignificant when compared to a Waldron or O’hare. And what Jimmy Carter did for the Navy is at best, poorly documented, I am fairly well read and I am not aware of him performing any heroic acts. Best to get back to stringent guidelines for ship naming, and for what it is worth, I feel that 13 Billion dollar carriers should be explicitly named, while many may argue Gerald Ford’s worthiness, few could argue against Enterprise, Constellation, or Kitty Hawk

    • David J Gill

      Let’s have no ship named USS Hyman Rickover.

      • Wolf

        WHY? He’s deserving oft. In fact, almost as soon as the USS Hyman G Rickover (SSN-709) came out of service, the new USS Hyman G Rickover (SSN-795) was commissioned. Read a book or two sometime FFS, and stop making a fool outta yourself…

        • David J Gill

          My point with this article is that we should not make naming ships a political game and particularly should not name ships after living presidents or former presidents.

          My remark about Hyman Rickover was strictly about his funny name. I thought that would be apparent. I’m sure he was was a distinguished Navy officer, but I will not read a book about him. I’ll leave that to you.

          • Steve Mckinney

            You are commenting on a Naval Institute board and you don’t know who Admiral Hyman Rickover the father of the nuclear navy is? Credibility out the door.

          • David J Gill

            You didn’t read what he said. I’m an American citizen so I am qualified to give a thoughtful opinion about how Naval vessels are named.

            I repeat…my comment regarding Hyman Rickover was just humor about his funny name.

          • thewolfchild

            Well, I would say you obviously lack a sense of humor, but then I look at your avatar, and…
            Let’s just say your sense of humor sucks.

  • Harry Dexter White.

    Look name one after my names sake ok complete the cycle. What cycle, you may ask?

    • David J Gill

      (Name one “Guest”?)
      OK…what cycle?

      • Wolf

        the “USS Douche-bag” (T-ATF-173)…

        • David J Gill

          I really don’t see why the navy would name a ship in your honor.

          • Wolf

            Or we could always name one after you… “USS Demented Turd”

          • David J Gill

            Are you in 7th grade?

          • thewolfchild

            Why? Are you wondering what it would’ve been like if you’d made it that far?

  • Berzrkr50

    Harvey Milk openly advocated man-boy relationships! One can only hope that the Navy wouldn’t name a ship after a man with pedophile tenancies!

  • Berzrkr50

    How about naming a “Honey-Boat” the USS Obama? They smell the same…

  • Jeff Brown

    How about these for names since we have no dignity left: USS Mr. Limpet, USS Susan Rice, USS Hillary, USS Eric Holder, USS Jeremiah Wright, USS Rahm Emanuel, USS Beyonce,

    • David J Gill

      You comment shows you have no dignity.

      • 375Holland&Holland

        F U U SCUMBAG

        • Ronald HAMPTON


        • David J Gill

          Like I said.

    • 375Holland&Holland


  • 1twothree4

    Thanks God I was on a ship named after Bull Halsey (CG-23), and thank God I will be dead soon. Harvey Milk? Gabrielle Giffords? What next, USS Oprah?? USS Jarrett??

    • glcinpdx

      It will probably be the USS Caitland Jenner….

      • 375Holland&Holland

        If lib’s and obamster has anything to say about it.

    • 375Holland&Holland

      Imagine milk, wintry holy chit!!

  • Vivian Lee

    Harvey Milk? That name will strike terror in the hearts of America’s enemies!

    • Mastro63

      Well- “In The Navy” could be played at commissioning!

  • Secundius

    Ship’s Naming Convention?
    Why doesn’t the U.S. Navy use the names of captured ship’s in past wars into today’s
    modern Navy. Example, the MACEDONIAN served both the Royal and Continental Navies with distinction. Honor the name and battles it fought with distinction. If the modern Royal Navy won’t use the name, then why won’t we!!!

    • David J Gill

      Naming ships for captured enemy ships? Did the Royal Navy do that?
      What is the Continental Navy?

      • Wolf

        omg… you don’t know what the “Continental Navy” is? Then you have no business commenting here. Like I said… go read some books ffs.

        • David J Gill

          You nit wit. You seem to feel free to be vague with impunity. For instance, there is more than “Royal” navy in the world.

          • thewolfchild

            Who said anything about the “Royal navy”? You asked: ” What is the Continental Navy?” How can you ask that and claim to be an American? (plus you’re sitting at a computer… look it up!)
            Geez, for a guy who is ALL OVER this board acting like a know-it-all, you don’t seem to know very much about anything.

          • David J Gill

            You seem to be focused on insulting people. So why are you here?

          • thewolfchild

            Good gawd, man… you do have a thick skull. Read YOUR OWN post FFS. You asked; “What is the Continental Navy?” …just 5 posts above this one. If you don’t know that, you have no business here. Go educate yourself and perhaps you’ll stop looking so foolish.
            (I’m referring to your comments, not your face. There is nothing you can do about THAT train wreck… )

          • David J Gill

            Your replies to me have been focused on your self-righteous obsession with one point of fact , but now they are just obsessive and tedious.

          • thewolfchild

            Deny, evade and insult all you like. You can’t change the facts, you twit. But, please… go ahead and post another meaningless reply, where you whine and complain about other people’s meaningless replies. Go ahead and be “obsessive and tedious” as well as repetitive and hypocritical. Chump.

  • Eyeroller

    There were several ships named after foreigners, including a few SSBN’s or that attack subs were originally named after fish all the way up until the 70’s. That was when names became more about politics then tradition

    • Mastro63

      When they changed someone said “Fish don’t vote”

  • Mastro63

    They should name ships after Lee Harvey Oswald and Charles Whitman- at least they were Marines who could shoot!

    • David J Gill

      Let’s name drone’s after assassins and mass murderers.
      (intended as humor…no larger meaning implied.)

  • TXranger55

    If they ever named a ship after Obama, no one would serve on it … Transfer time!

    Even if they forced sailors to serve on it, moral would be low at all times.

    • 3901

      Naming a torpedo retriever after him would be appropriate.

    • David J Gill

      If we are going to play this game of political favoritism engineered by Republican’s to gratify their sense of superiority then yes, we should have a super carrier named USS Barack Obama to teach you guys a less in bi-partisan compromise the importance of respecting your political opponents.

      I don’t see how you can dismiss naming a super carrier for Obama considering he is our first African American president and has lead very aggressive military and intelligence policies throughout his administration. Consider also, the importance of the desegregation of the US military and that the fact that African American representation in the US military is greater than that of the general population.

      If we surveyed African American personnel in the US Navy about naming a super carrier for Obama what do you think the result would be?

      If we are going to continue this shoddy policy of naming big ships after living partisan political leaders then there MUST be a USS Barack Obama supercarrier. You can hate Obama all you want, but you can’t deny the case I have just made unless you are willing to admit that your animosity toward Obama is motivated by his race.

      • Scalliwag

        Obama is basically Indonesian. His mom is white. He isn’t African American. Or a good president. He has the foreign policy skill of Neville Chamberlain. He doesn’t believe in a country run by checks and balances. History will show what he really was, which is an ignorant man who threw temper tantrums and bent and broke rules to get his way.

        • Adam Smith

          History will show that you’re an idiot.

          • Jerry Armstrong

            Democrats did play the obstruction game with Bush.
            Adam, you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed either.

          • David J Gill

            Democrats attempted to obstruct Bush’s bad policies. Let’s also remember Republican behavior in Congress when Clinton was president was politics and not motivated by the nations best interest.

            Republicans today obstruct Obama because he is not a Republican. McConnell said his only goal was to ensure Obama was not reelected on the first day of the Senate business after Obama was inaugurated. Get my point?

        • David J Gill

          The only thing you are at all correct about is his mother. You clearly know nothing about Neville Chamberlain.
          There is no reason to suggest he ” doesn’t believe in a country run by checks and balances.” This is executive order controversy about which nothing is truly controversial. You disregard the use of EO thru history and the obstruction caused by Republicans in Congress the purpose of which is to discredit Obama quite separate from the facts and issues involved.

          How will this country operate if the opposition to the president always refuses to work with that president and is committed to making him fail strictly because he is not of their party. How will that work if Democrats in Congress play the same obstruction games with the next GOP president? I don’t think you understand what is going on.

          Temper tantrums?…this is fiction.

    • Ronald HAMPTON

      Stupid you can’t speak for everyone in the navy.

  • Dan Tootle

    Amazing!! Absolutely no discussion about the shame incurred around the ship’s name USS America. First the nation’s namesake is taken out to sea and sunk, and then a ship with OUR NAME is on a second-class “VSTOL carrier” that will slip quietly into ports around the world in the company of REAL aircraft carriers that are named for political hacks. So what will our international neighbors perceive? A nation that considers its heritage and name to be second class while its powerful politicians rule over all.

    • David J Gill

      Good points mostly, though not every ship can become a museum and all ships are eventually scrapped or scuttled, both of which give plenty of opportunity for negative symbolism.

      A VSTOL carrier is also REAL but your point is well taken. The USS America should trade names with the USS Carl Vinson.

      • thewolfchild

        What a juvenile world view…

        • David J Gill

          Why the f___ would you say that.

          • thewolfchild

            Why the f___ do you think?
            Just look at your juvenile comment…

  • David Foote

    Honestly reminds me of cartoonist Walt Kelly’s old Pogo line – – – “We have met the enemy and he is us.” The whole ship-naming process involves nothing more or less than good old fashioned US politics, always has, always will. Citizens can suggest, they can approve, they can rant, they can rave, but if a Secretary of the Navy or other competent authority (legislation) gives a ship a name, I say let it go and move on to the next battle – – – God knows there are plenty out there.

  • David J Gill

    How about ships named for the most important Admirals in the Navy’s history? We have the USS Nimitz, a name selection that is above controversy I believe.

    And how about a class of ships named from among Medal of Honor recipients who served in the Navy and those awarded the Navy Cross? (Or has that been done?) No politicians or living persons.

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  • Greg Price

    Thank God the Navy wasn’t stupid enough to retire the name Enterprise…why did they start decomissioning the classic Navy ship names to begin with?

  • Steve Mckinney

    How about we take the naming out of the hands of the politicians altogether? Let the public submit names and then put the most suggested up for a vote. Enterprise Lexington Yorktown and Hornet should never leave the fleet for long. Those names are of ship that literally saved the United States.

    • thewolfchild

      Nope… I don’t want the “USS Snooki”.

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  • 375Holland&Holland

    Harvey f n milk ? F no!!

  • KellyJ

    Your write up on Chavez is completely false. He was NOT a “Civil Rights Leader.” He was a Union thug who job was to organize the farm workers in the Southwest into the Unions. He opposed any system of part time ag-workers and fought (successfully) to have the Bracero Guest Worker program eliminated (thus making the migrant farm workers who came up from Mexico seasonally all Illegal Aliens). As for his non-violent beliefs, well any Google search will bring up plenty on the REAL Chavez.

  • kantil

    How about a USS Walt Whitman, or USS Luke Sissyfag, or USS Paul Robeson, or USS Franklin Kameny, or USS Cindy Sheehan? All would seen highly qualified according to the current administration’s criteria. And now that we have a bi-sexual (or should that be bi-genderal?) military, the LGBT candidates seem particularly appropriate.

  • Wayne Conell

    U.S. Navy ships should be named after the famous battles through history. People forget when our men and women are serving our country they also are preserving what past people have given…. Their lives.
    I believe if I’m in the middle of the Pacific Ocean fighting for my country thousands of miles away and my ship under my feet is named USS ENTERPRISE and its under attack every seaman and officer who ever served on a ship called ENTERPRISE is fighting with me that’s what tradition and history belongs to a name
    Not much to fight for if your ship is named USS Barry Goldwater who nobody remembers.

  • Nergal

    I cant believe someone would propose naming a ship after a known pedophile and child-rapist like Harvey Milk.

  • Rob Parmley

    By far the latest is an insult to everyone. Gerald Ford was a momentary fill in that was not even elected to office. He was appointed to replace a scoundrel who fled as VP then assumed the presidency when the scoundrels leader, Nixon, resigned. His historical significance is precisely ZERO. He did nothing but fill a chair in the oval office until the next election.

  • Jon

    Warships should not be named after non-service veterans including Presidents. If they couldn’t or wouldn’t put on a uniform they need a significant connection like lead engineer on a new class of destroyer or something. Non-combat ships like supply and support ships can be named for other people.


    Lexington, Coral Sea, Midway, Saratoga, Constellation, Ticonderoga, Intrepid, Yorktown, Hornet, these are the names that need to be on the carriers.

  • DukeSavoy

    The Navy also has seen fit to name a ship the USS Chancellorsville, a Union defeat during the Civil War. What possessed the Navy to name a ship after a U.S. defeat? What about naming a ship USS Kasserine Pass or USS Malmedy Massacre? Navy ship naming has seriously gone off the rails. Carriers used to have great names like Enterprise, Hornet, Intrepid, etc. Now they have dull, uninspiring names like H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, John Stennis, Carl Vinson. Nice way to remove all the inspirational qualities of a name and just suck up to politicians.

    • gro

      The biggest ‘problem’ with naming ships after Pols is whichever party is in charge will name a ship for someone the ‘other party’ will not like – so we get a Murpha to offset Reagan/Ford/Bush etc.
      I still believe a ship should not be named for a Pol – especially a living one.
      Gifford was bad enough but when we start naming ship(s) after the current pResident we will have ‘hit bottom’.

      • Mike

        We have six carriers named after republican presidents, one named after a democrat, two named after politicians, one after a founding father, and one after a Naval leader.

    • DavidM

      While I agree that naming has gone off the rails, I don’t see the problem with naming a ship after a defeat. It’s the valor involved not the result e.g. Bunker Hill, The Alamo. It would be a pity to deny the valor of those involved.

      • DukeSavoy

        Okay, that’s a good point. There is valor on both sides. Bunker Hill was, of course, special in that it was the first time American soldiers fought in a set piece battle (Lexington Green, Concord Bridge and the running fight during the British retreat back to Boston notwithstanding) and acquitted themselves well (more ammunition and bayonets might have made it a victory). Chancellorsville has nothing to recommend it from the U.S. side. Commemorating a Confederate Army victory should not be a goal of any organization that swears an oath to the Constitution and flies the Stars and Stripes. That’s the flag that Lee and his troops, however valiantly, were shooting at.

        • jtp56

          As Michelle would say….”All that for a flag?”

          • dfg

            she’s a full strength idiot alright

        • Scott Robertson

          The battle of Bunker Hill wasn’t even fought there.. it was fought on Breeds Hill.

    • SFjeb

      USS Ronald Reagan is a very inspiring name for a U S Navy ship. Warriors greatly respected his restoration of American exceptionalism. The Naval Academy remains embarrassed by Carter’s presidency. Obama should have a garbage scow named after him, or maybe just a civilian VACATION ship, rename the one that has had the most breakdowns at sea.

      • faulknavy

        At least Carter served…Reagan had every opportunity to do so. Reagan was a good President, but people have weird delusions about the Reagan Presidency. He “cut and ran” from Lebenon after the bombings. Our Marines lost there were never avenged, and sorry Obama haters, but Reagan is still the only President in American History to pass blanket amnesty. The Cold War was won by a combination of Democratic and Republican administrations starting in 1945 after WW2, and yes Reagan played a crucial role, but the Wall did not just come down after Reagan’s speech, that is just simplifying a complicated 40+ years in US history.

        • James Kilmartin

          Reagan was an Army officer during WWII.

          • Hirightnow

            “Limited Service”; he made propaganda films stateside.

          • jtp56

            Now we need to start differentiating how “honorably”, or “limited” someone served? He was making feel good films to inspire civilians to do what they can while guys were dying in the snow? Someone else would of done his job if he was serving more “honorably” or in a less “limited” fashion. So how do we categorize? Guys who actually saw bad stuff don’t seem to really care what others with honorable discharges did. They (“limited service”) wore the uniform; and if it had gotten bad enough, they’d of went.

          • Hirightnow

            You upvoted your own post?

          • Randy Harrison

            He was a cavalry officer in the Army Reserve from 1936 to 1941. I would say that was not ‘limited service’.

          • Victor Laszlo

            So all the men and women who served in the Motion Picture Unit were all not really serving? Is that what you’re saying? So, John Ford, Frank Capra, Robert Capa, none of them served either according to your logic.

            I’ll bet you served, right? Please enlighten us.

          • Hirightnow

            USN, 81-89 Aviation Fire Control Technician, E-5, in ATKRON 85 aboard the Kennedy and the Saratoga. Later in ATKRON 42. Hated shore duty.
            My work killed the enemy. Plus, I’m told I tell a pretty good joke, so there’s your entertaining part right there.

          • wolaverjs

            @Hirightnow, REALLY? You cast stones because of the role he filled in uniform?
            He did the job he was assigned. There are things that need done all over the world and someone has to fill those roles.

        • Danny Isaacs

          You have forgotten that Reagan pushed for a 600 ship Navy and almost got there. Carter and Ford were both Navy Veterans and didn’t do as much for the Navy as Reagan.

        • kingghidorah

          I would have cut and run too. Iraq is a textbook example of that one.

        • Victor Laszlo

          You are grossly mistaken.

        • wolaverjs

          The Reagan “blanket amnesty” you mention – I assume you are referring to the illegal immigrants amnesty? Hated it. To give him proper credit though, it was part of a one-two to solve our southern border problem. The deal was to cut the cost of finding and prosecuting all the illegals and use the money to fix the southern border. Reagan did his part granting the amnesty, then Congress upheld their usual standards of integrity and perseverance – that’s right, they dropped the ball completely.

    • CaptainParker

      Don’t be surprised if it gets a lot worse. Count on it…there will be a proposal to name a Navy ship after a transgender person. Laughable? Considering the services are being required by this administration to actively recruit the psychiatric problem children it is far from the realm of impossibility. That will really put fear into the hearts of the Chinese and the Russians. [sarcasm very much intended]

      • DunRanull

        How does the “USS Crossdresser” sound? Or “USS Transvestite”? Or naming a new tactical missile the “GayBlade”? I bet the Ruskies would soil themselves if a missile called the “HomoErotic” was comin at them… My bad… no offense meant to our gay brothers..

  • TomD

    The USS Providence saw a replay of the USS (City of) Corpus Christi controversy, but it did not result in an USS City of Providence compromise.

  • Ed L

    I am waiting for the pc navy to name the next LHA after the Inchon landings. but I will not be holding my breath. .

  • Curt Reinke

    Forget politicians, I am a firm believer that the next carrier should carry the honored name USS Yorktown.. CV5 the original Yorktown fought in 2 pivotal battles early in the Pacific war. The battle of Coral Sea which stopped Japanese expansion in the Southwest Pacific dead in it’s tracks and the battle of Midway where CV5 which could be and was, in fact. replaced with CV10 which was sacrificed in the destruction of 4 Japanese fleet carriers along with the majority of their highly trained and experienced aircrews and technicians, and aircraft. none of which could be replaced.

    The sprite of this great ship heeds to prowl the seas once again.
    When you give a crew a great ship with great name and fighting tradition that goes back to 1942 you will very soon have a great crew doing their damnedest to uphold the traditions of those who came before them.

    Saratoga would not be a bad name for the one after that

    • Mike

      The second Ford class carrier is being named the John F. Kennedy and the third one will be named Enterprise. I think they should have named the first ship of the class Enterprise.

      • Ken78

        And the fourth ship should be named for President John Adams, under who’s presidency the U. S. Navy was permanently created.

      • wolaverjs

        CVN 65, also named Enterprise, was still in service when Ford began building. Interestingly, the name Enterprise has never been the lead ship of any class despite there having been 8 ships named Enterprise to date. Maybe that’s a tradition…

    • Danny Lewis

      I believe the USS Lexington CV2 should be honored along with the Yorktown and Saratoga for Aircraft Carriers soon to come. Aircraft Carriers used to be named for famous American Battles. Battleships were named for states. Heavy Cruisers were named for the names of state capitols Light Cruisers were named for cities and Submarines for ocean dwellers. Since the end of WW2, the naming of Navy ships has gone from great to terrible. Whatever happened to tradition.


      • soljerblue

        And the high brass nods, salutes, and lets it happen.

        I can accept the ships named for Milk, Chavez, Henry Jackson — they had a connection with the services(Scoop was USMC, I believe), but slapping a name on a ship just to honor some guy who never served, or abused his elected office(Murtha) because he’s your congressional Bunkie just spits on tradition — and a military service needs tradition. It’s the heart of esprit de corps and unit bonding.

    • William Roksvold

      CG-48 was the USS YORKTOWN.

    • Budvarakbar

      Please do not leave out the Ticonderoga

      • Scott Robertson

        Ticonderoga was In service until 2004…. was the first Aegis Cruiser

  • Clay Pendleton

    I still don’t understand why the Navy didn’t name one of the new super carriers after the USS America instead of replacing it with a LHA – 6 Amphibious assault ship? I served on that ship during the Gulf War – Deseret Shield & Storm and I thought for sure that they would name one of the new carriers after her? Also why don’t they have a super carrier named after Thomas Jefferson? They have George Washington, Abraham Lincoln & Teddy Roosevelt?

    • Don Clark

      Thomas Jefferson was opposed to a standing army and navy. He did his best to decommission the original six frigates purchased by the George Washington administration. The founding father who got it right was Alexander Hamilton. At least the Coast Guard know who to honor with his sixth cutter… Guess which person has the most Navy ships named after him? Stephen Decatur, with five ships named USS Decatur… While there have been more ships named USS Washington, many are named for the state, not directly for our first President… But when you include the four navy ships named USS George Washington, along with the ships named USS Washington for our first President, he wins… Interesting… Notice there is both a USS Decatur and a USS George Washington in service today… Along with a USCGC Hamilton… You know the likeness on the US one and ten dollar bills…

    • TheResistanceIsFutile

      Here you go. I had a few extras.


  • Optimist

    The USS Carl Vinson should’ve been renamed a long time ago. Might as well call it the USS George Wallace.

  • Hirightnow

    You have two screen names? Really?
    (There’s no “Ken78” following me, so how is it that you knew to respond to me so quickly on a month-old thread?)

  • Hirightnow

    Your time to waste, not mine.
    Enjoy how important you feel…that stuff ends after junior college.

  • we tolow

    In honor of the oiler USS Harvey Milk one more should be added , USS K-Y Jelly. This whole name thing has gotten out of hand. JP Jones has to be spinning in his grave about this time.

  • Ray Muñez

    /smh/ This really makes me sick. Naming honors handed out to politicians and political activists and not to people, places and events that reflect the honor and courage of the Navy. This is a symptom of corruption, as these honors are commodified and used as political rewards or as a quid pro quo for future appropriations. Just go to the Wikipedia page which conveniently lists all the carriers, starting with CV-1 and going right through CVN-80. You see a long history of honoring naval and aviation history and then, beginning roughly with the Kennedy, nearly every carrier gets named after a recent politician. Why can’t the supporters of the USN organize to put an end to this?

  • Daniel P. Hanover

    I don’t believe any U.S. Navy ship or boat should be named for any U.S. President as it was long considered a monarchial practice. Furthermore, I don’t believe any U.S. Navy ship or boat should be named for any politician as they are all just glorified prostitutes.

  • George Edward Brown

    Current president, Obama, has not served in the military so should not have any ship named after him. He not only hasn’t served but has made declawing our military a priority in favor of social programs that have never worked anyway.
    If a ship had to be named to “honor” such a disgraceful man, I suggest naming our next garbage scow after Barack. The USS Barack Obama is an apt name for a trash ship. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

  • norcalguy101

    Gawd I am so happy the rule of President Zero will soon be over.
    Not soon enough though.

  • Alec Horne

    Name some of them for Indian chiefs.

  • wolaverjs

    Quote: “Cruisers were to be named after battles…” Really? When was the battle of Pensacola? Chicago? Denver? Cleveland? Milwaukee? Try again, Sam! Battleships were to be named after states, cruisers after cities, and destroyers after military heroes. More recently, attack submarines were named after cities and boomers after states.

    • JRSeamanNAVYvet

      The author of the article is talking about the ships in commission TODAY, not during World War 2. The cruisers in U.S. Navy service today (all of the Ticonderoga-class of CGs) are named for famous American battles (USS Princeton, USS Hue City, USS Anzio, USS Antietam, etc.). During the Second World War, cruisers were named after cities, such as the USS San Diego, USS Pensacola, USS Chicago, USS Denver, USS Cleveland, USS Milwaukee, USS Atlanta, USS Juneau, etc.

      Sam doesn’t need to try again – his statement is accurate…

  • Laura B Dietz

    A group of Marines War Correspondents would like to see a ship named after Joseph Rosenthal,
    the war photographer that shot the famous Iwo Jima flag raising by marines on Iwo Jima on 23 Feb. 1945.
    .. that image became the most reproduced in WWII, over 3 million US Treas. Dept. posters, and the theme of the 7th War Drive “Now-All Together”.. It’s an American icon of courage and sacrifice. Need feedback.

  • Michael McMahon

    The next 7 supercarriers need to be the USS United States, USS Lexington, USS Yorktown, USS Saratoga, USS Enterprise, USS Intrepid and the USS Pearl Harbor. All have a very important meaning to not only the US Navy, but to the United States, as a whole. Those names that have been used on a previous carriers, have a long and storied history of bravery and overcoming adversity.