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Document: Report to Congress on U.S. Navy Ship Naming

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announces the name of USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE-14). US Navy Photo

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announces the name of USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE-14). US Navy Photo

The following is the June 5, 2014 report from the Congressional Research Service, Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress. 

  • great deal of paper and time wasted. I wonder how many many hours and how much this BS paper cost. Politics as usual. Submarines, attack boats, were named for fish. That tradition has died and with it the history of the submarine service. Growler, Sealion, Sailfish, (my first boat Rasher, to name a few. In sub school, cir. 1963, we learned the history behind the boats and the men who sailed them into harms way. Now politics dedicates naming of boats and ships. USS Muther and Gabby Gifford come to mind. Traditions can be lost and never returned. MMSC(SS)(SW) USN Ret

    • NavySubNuke

      it died when someone figured out that senators had more influence on the budget then fish. Sad but true. The only positive of the whole fiasco is that namesake cities/states usually provide some cash to the ship every year to spend on the crew – it helped get a nicer tv on my boat and offset the cost of crew parties.

  • Refguy

    Ironic that Congress requested this report since they’ve been on board for years when ships were being named for their buddies – Stennis, Vinson, et al.

  • Secundius

    I would like too see either a Destroyer or Frigate, named USS. MACEDONIAN.


    Chavez was often quoted that he “HATED” his time in the USN.

    • Secundius

      Yeah, well I guess peeling potatoes, might have that effect on people.

    • Scott

      I am sure Obama put his name forth….

  • GrundoonSR

    Multiple appeals have been made to MOC and SECNAV over the years about the naming of ships. Frankly, it disgusts me. The carriers should NEVER carry an individuals name,no matter how famous. Does anyone ever mention the morale factor of a sailor who must serve on a ship named after some corrupt politician or even a president with whom they disrespect. I cannot abide a vessel named Gabrielle Giffords or John Stennis. How do we name a Aircraft Carrier after Harry Truman when he hated the Navy and tried to destroy the Marine Corps? If it were in my power I would keep alive the old,proud or traditional names such as. USS Midway,Coral Sea, Ranger etc. are names to be proud of and represent the history and sacrifices of the past to motivate the crews of the future.

  • ed2291

    Stop naming ships after politicians. Stop immediately! Those who served honorably in
    the Navy – such as Presidents Bush and Ford – can be thanked in some other way.
    Ditto with congressmen or political activists. Only those who died in service
    or served a full career after significantly contributing to the Navy or Marine
    Corps should be considered for this honor. (The Sullivans is appropriately
    named and inspiring.) It is to our everlasting shame and diminished morale that
    the United States Navy is the only armed service of the United States that has
    this problem. For clarification ask a member of another service what they would
    think of naming their equipment after politicians. Better yet, ask a Marine – any
    Marine of any age, any rank, or any length of service.

    • Secundius

      Well I guess most politicians, think they have to be remembered for something! After the dismal performances while in office.

    • Keith Jacobs

      The SecNav has also authorized the third ships of the “Zumwalt” DDG class to be named USS Lyndon B. Johnson – an absolute disgrace considering his record with the Vietnam War (58,000 + dead).
      Shame on Mabus and those who nominate him for such a ship naming!

      • ed2291

        So so true!

  • vincedc

    Interesting report, but in these days of budget crunches, you would think congress would find better ways for the Navy to spend its money.

  • Grundoon

    I know of no study that takes a ship’s crew into consideration. What is the effect on morale when you are stuck on the USS Wussy? I know it had an effect on me and I would do most anything to avoid service on one of these “politician” ships.

  • Old Navy guy

    Change is generally not appealing, and often it causes heartburn. But naming our warships after politicians and labor leaders is an affront to the sailors who must sail in those ships. Think of a destroyer squadron with the following ships assigned: Decatur, Halsey, Cushing, O’Bannon, Giffords. Does one of those ships stand out as stupidly named? We have always named streets and public buildings after politicians; why change now. One day soon we will have U.S.S. Sharpton.

    • Secundius

      @ Old Navy guy.

      The same could be said about the Halsey, here’s an Admiral that split his Fleet and took the Heavier Element of that Fleet to go on a Wild Goose Chase. And for what Promotion, the Medal of Honor, there was NO EXCUSE for what he did…