Home » Documents » Document: Notice to Congress on 8 Proposed Navy Ship Names

Document: Notice to Congress on 8 Proposed Navy Ship Names

The following is a July 14, 2016 notification to Congress from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on proposed names for eight future U.S. Navy ships — including fleet oiler USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO-206) and the first Ohio Replacement ballistic missile submarine USS Columbia (SSNB(X)).

The complete list:

  • NavySubNuke

    I have to say the Columbia class SSBN is pretty disappointment. I know it could be worse but there are a lot of ways it could be better. Naming the class after the Submarine Medal of Honor winners for instance.

    • Rob C.

      They name Destroyers, fighting ship of the Navy after Heroes already. It’s best their name be seen than not noticed by public due to the secrecy of the Strategic Ballistic Submarine Fleet.

      • NavySubNuke

        I don’t know – I think the submarine MoH winners would rather have their names be on boats rather than on targets.

      • RobM1981

        I like it when there is a strong pattern.

        SSBN’s are named after states or things like “Columbia”
        CV’s and other large aircraft handlers are named after major battles or historic vessels
        SSN’s are named after major cities (I liked sea creatures, too, but I can get behind cities, like cruisers used to)
        CG’s can be named after lesser battles (but still important ones)
        DDG’s are named after heroes
        Frigates, if we had any, are named after heroes and even smaller battles
        Auxiliaries and other smaller vessels are named for political points
        I don’t want to disrespect the men and women who serve on the LCS, so maybe name them after small cities…

        There really should be an order to it.

        • Dennis

          You are correct, and I agree with you. I don’t know why some idiot like mabus thinks it’s ok to change things, though. And an oiler IS an auxiliary. Of course, maybe naming an oiler after Milk may be appropriate. After all, it snakes a hose to other ships and delivers a substance through it…like milk did with those boys…

    • El_Sid

      SSBNs are the capital ships of our time, which means they should have “battleship”-type names. Which in the USN means states. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing to give it a somewhat ambiguous “state” name that can also refer to the personification of the US as a whole – think of it as an alternative version of USS America. The problem is attack boats being given state names when any fule no that US attack boats should be fish…

      I’ve commented before on the way the USN and RN have such different ideas on naming – the USN celebrate individuals whereas the RN takes a more collective approach that tends to celebrate the collective deeds of past ships and their companies by reusing old names – the one exception is a handful of admirals for capital ships. I rather hope that Successor ends up as the Hawke class – you could also have Hood, Hardy and at a pinch Horatio (which would be reusing a previous RN name) to also achieve a single letter “H” class.

      • Bull Jones

        I don’t see anything wrong with reusing heroic names, like Boone, Edison etc.

  • Rob C.

    Columbia? Are they going start naming SSBN’s after districts a territories?

    • johnbull

      This is beating s dead horse, but is it beyond Manus’s intelligence level to have a convention for names? CVNs can get presidents, great admirals, historic names. CGs can be cities or battles, DDGs heroes. The problem of states for subs is there aren’t enough names. LCS could be named after battles we lost 🙂

      • El_Sid

        Can’t be too hard on Mabus, at least he wasn’t responsible for the Seawolfs, which manage to have every boat named according to different systems.

        Although I completely agree with the idea of SSBN=capital ship => state names, it is perhaps missing a bit of a trick to use state names (which lots of voters can identify with) for the least visible parts of the USN. From a PR point of view it would be better to save state names for major (ie impressive) surface units and eg if you’re going to use hero names, use them for submarines.

  • Sam Culper III

    Should have gone with the USS United States.

    • Rob C.

      Problem is political. Not that it’s bad name. It’s because when the President of the United Statesw board A ship. Its “United States, Arriving” thus. A captain of US Warship with name USS United States, would get the same announcement as the President. I think it’s stupid they should modify it to “USS United States, Arriving” however, tradition hangs in there unfortunately.

      • agnosic1

        If you recall your naval history, I believe the post is referencing the “Revolt of the Admirals” and CVA-58–the USS United States–the super-carrier at the center of the controversy:

        Looking to cut the military budget and accepting without question the Air Force argument on nuclear deterrence by means of large, long-range bombers, Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson announced the cancellation of construction of United States, on 23 April 1949, five days after the ship’s keel was laid.[3] Secretary of the Navy John Sullivan immediately resigned, and Congress held an inquiry into the manner and wisdom of Johnson’s decision. In the subsequent “Revolt of the Admirals” the Navy was unable to advance its case that large carriers would be essential to national defense.[16]

        Soon after Johnson and Francis P. Matthews, the man he advanced to be the new Secretary of the Navy, set about punishing those officers that let their opposition be known.[17] Navy Admiral Louis Denfeld was forced to resign as Chief of Naval Operations, and a number of other Admirals and lesser ranks were punished. The invasion of South Korea six months later resulted in an immediate need for a strong naval presence, and Matthews position as Secretary of the Navy and Johnson’s position as Secretary of Defense crumbled, both ultimately resigning.


  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    3 out of 5 isn’t bad

  • Elmer Hemingway

    There’s already a USS Columbia SSN-771. Am I missing something here? She is not decommed as far as I know.

    • jbaustian

      From the USNI blog: “The fleet’s current USS Columbia (SSN-771) – a Los Angeles attack submarine – is named in honor of Columbia, S.C., Columbia, Ill and Columbia, Mo. The submarine is expected to decommission before the first SSBN(X) enters service.”

  • Bo

    This … naming a ship of our Navy … after an individual whose only “accomplishment” in life appears to be their choice of sexual practice is disgusting, especially in light of all the true heroes in America from whom SECNAV could chose.

    • Jake Monnett

      Being named for an oiler sound befitting for a gay man, aka the U.S.S. Vaseline.

  • Michael D. Woods

    Most of those people have no Navy connection. Harvey Milk does have a Navy connection and served a tour credibly though without opportunity to achieve special distinction. It looks like another political attempt to pander for the votes of special-interest groups.

    • Machia0705

      Milk became a pedophile in civilian life . This is shameful .

  • Danny Lewis

    This naming of ships for whomever some politician(s) want in order to keep their so called legacy alive for years to come, should not be allowed to happen. This idiot Mabus has and will do more damage to the Navy and Marine Corps than any adversary will do. All of these names on his list have no “Navy” history. Only Milk does, but he was a pedophile. These names should be rejected and all
    naming should wait until after the election and the new SecNav, if there is one, should then submit new names for these ships.
    Enough of the Obama’s Admins attempts to fracture our military even more before he’s finally gone.

    • Stephen Smith

      Agree completely! These names have no business being on US Navy ships. If they will not stop the naming now then after the election the new SECNAV must take steps to change them.

    • Why the USS JFK? USS TR?

    • plesant al


      • Danny Lewis

        Twit???? Really? Dies this just show everyone what your vocabulary is? One word?

        • plesant al

          THought I’d keep the comment within your ability to grasp. maybe if your willing to stretch a little try NUB

          • Danny Lewis

            Hahaha, no, you’re just one of those people who likes to carry a pocket dictionary around so as to try, and I mean try, to impress people. You’re just like the rest of your kind, a day late and a dollar short. Why don’t you go and buy yourself an updated dictionary, your 1950’s style is getting pretty long in the tooth.

          • plesant al

            Such big word use use for such a narrow mind, Does it cause you a lot of pain to think when you use them. You are definitely a NUB. You are such an expert on proper navy you should know what the initials mean. Heres another word for you are DINk in your qualifying for a life. Study up. Try some tylenol for the pain you get while thinking

  • Ted Damos

    SECNAV continues the Obama Administration policy of Sexual Preference Political Correctness. They were kind enough to not target a ship of the line.

  • Russ Neal

    Since we have an election in November I would have expected Mabus to rename the Gerald Ford the Hillary Clinton. The 100% political 0% practical nature of the Defense Department under Obama signals our end. it’s beyond farce into the surreal.

    • Why the the USS JF Kennedy? Might as well rename him USS Nixon eh?

  • Steve

    Every time you think Ray Mabus has done the most ridiculous thing and can’t top it, you are proved wrong. I thought his self-described “signature issue” of his Secretaryhood of making female uniforms look like male uniforms could not be topped.

    But now we have the lead ship of a class that should be named after states that is named after a nonstate –the District of Columbia. But you can make an exception when the nonstate is overwhelmingly voting the way Ray Mabus thinks it should..

    And Harvey Milk? He served honorably in the Navy and that is commendable. But he did nothing special in his service. The naming is identity politics, nothing more. What is next for the politically correct toady Mabus –the USS Caitlyn Jenner?

  • Murray

    There is actually a good historical precedent for naming the Ohio replacement after a US Territory. The Alaska class battle cruisers (2 out of a projected 6 completed) were all named after US Territories.

    • Rob C.

      I hope that’s the direction their going with Columbia. The Virginia Class units are basically almost exclusively being named for US States.

  • muzzleloader

    The Harvey Milk? How about the Nathan James?

  • agnosic1

    USS Doris (“Dorie”) Miller
    USS Jack Lummus
    USNS Anna Mae Hays
    USNS Elizabeth Hoisington
    USNS Joe Rosenthal
    USNS Robert Sherrod
    USNS Ira Hayes
    USNS Jack Chevigny
    SSBN(X) = USS Shangri-La

    • agnosic1

      “Shortly after I became Chief of Staff, I went to the Secretary of the Army and I said, ” You know, I’ve fought three wars and I’ve seen the Army Nurse Corps and the Womens Army Corps do a magnificent job. These ladies have fine leaders and good administrators and I think that the time has arrived to recognize the Women’s Army Corps and the Army Nurse Corps by promoting the heads of these two female organizations to the grade of Brigadier General.” And I got turned down. I got turned down and I went back a couple of months later and made my case again to the civilian secretary and I got turned down a second time.”

      “But I’m a very persistent guy, I don’t give up easy I can assure you . So I went back the third time and it went all the way, apparently to the President, and by that time we had a change in the administration, and I got word back that we could promote Anna Mae Hays, the Chief Army Nurse, and Elizabeth Hoisington, the Chief of the Women’s Army Corps, to the grade of Brigadier General. This was quite something. It was the first time that a female general officer had been promoted in the western world since Joan of Arc. So that was quite a benchmark.”

      Excerpted from: General Westmoreland’s Address to the VHPA at the Third Annual Reunion, Washington, D.C. July, 5, 1986.