July 31, 2009

We can begin to fix this...starting NOW

There is a proposal to name the upcoming carrier CVN79 the USS Barry Goldwater.

Now I'm a Goldwater Republican and as our statesmen go Senator (and General) Goldwater is a better choice than most, but....no.
We need to end this now.
 One of the most irritating and downright offensive military developments in the last few decades has been the habit of naming United States capital ships after politicians. This is reminiscent of the former Soviet Union and corrupt third world nations. With the possible exception of George Washington himself, we really do not need to be naming our fighting ships after elected officials. Frankly, I'd find an alpha numeric system preferable to this.

 Carriers, were initially to be given names of famous battles and previous Naval vessels with especially distinguished careers. With this in mind there is a counter proposal for the naming of CVN 79 and it is an august name indeed....


Few ships have been as pivotal to world history as the Enterprise of 1775 as that vessels actions on Lake Champlain may well have changed the course of the Revolutionary War. The seventh ship to bear that name was, for several months during the Pacific War, the ONLY allied carrier in the Pacific. Holding the line against nigh impossible odds, the "Big E" won 20 out of a possible 21 battle stars and was absolutely pivotal in winning that terrible war. The eighth ship graced with that name is still in service. The first nuclear carrier in the world, her record of movements reads like the history of the US Navy after 1961. Now approaching her 50th year, Enterprise the oldest ship in the fleet by a wide margin, and is due to retire before CVN79 is commissioned. There are few more appropriate names for a US Navy warship.

To wit:

Whereas the namesake ENTERPRISE has been proudly borne by two combat aircraft carriers of the United States Navy; Whereas the first USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) (seventh ship to bear this name) and her embarked airwing and crew gallantly fought in every major battle in the Pacific during World War Two, including the signatory battle at Midway when vastly outnumbered by the ships and planes of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, ENTERPRISE, with YORKTOWN and HORNET struck a mortal blow, sinking four enemy aircraft carriers and turning the tide of the war in the Pacific; Whereas the same ENTERPRISE concluded that war as the most decorated warship in the United States Navy with 20 battle stars, a Presidential Unit Citation, a British Admiralty Pennant, Navy Unit Commendation, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and Task Force 16 Citation among many other accolades; Whereas the second United States Navy aircraft carrier to be named ENTERPRISE (CVAN/CVN-65) was the first such ship of her class in the world to be nuclear powered; Whereas that ENTERPRISE, the eighth ship to bear that name in the United States Navy is concluding a half-century of service to this nation and has honorably served in every theater of operations from leading the naval quarantine off Cuba in 1962 to conducting the first strikes following the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11th, 2001; Be It Resolved That the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed (CVN-79) should bear the name USS ENTERPRISE in recognition and honor of the fighting men and women of the United States navy who have sailed in her namesakes through the centuries. We The Undersigned: Call upon the Congress of the United States to remand H. CON. RES. 83 and replace it with a resolution supporting the naming of CVN-79 or the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed, the USS ENTERPRISE. Call upon the Secretary of the Navy to support this petition of the tax-paying people of these United States and name the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed the USS ENTERPRISE

Steeljaw Scribe has got the ball rolling on this, you can keep it rolling by signing here.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 09:53 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
Post contains 670 words, total size 5 kb.

1 Well I signed for it. From both a military history point of view and a space exploration/science fiction fan's, you can't go wrong with that name. It has resonance.

Posted by: toadold at Sat Aug 1 11:10:30 2009 (TPodH)


Has the USN run out of actual presidents to name ships after than they're down to presidential candidates? What next, USS Walter Mondale, USS Bob Dole?

One thing I've always wondered is why the USN uses full names for their ships (USS John F Kennedy- why not just USS Kennedy?)

Posted by: Andy Janes at Sun Aug 2 03:42:01 2009 (lNf10)

3 Andy, they've been naming carriers after lesser politicians longer than they've been naming them after presidents.  Forrestal was named after the last full Secretary of the Navy before they folded that department into Defense and Carl Vinson was named after a powerful House chairman.

And hey, there really isn't any tradition of naming nuclear supercarriers after anything other than politicians, excepting the Big E itself.  And I'm sort of looking forward to the Big Hill. ^_^

Posted by: Mitch H. at Tue Aug 4 11:52:18 2009 (jwKxK)

4 Now I'm wondering about the naming of the "Hornet" and the "Wasp?"

Posted by: toadold at Tue Aug 4 16:17:42 2009 (B/37X)

5 They were both traditional ship names in the US Navy.  Wasp was the eighth of its name, and the Hornet was the seventh.  Every fleet carrier between the USS Langley and more than half-way through the Essex class (USS Oriskany, maybe?) were christened with legacy names, although a lot of them were just recycled cargo-ship tags. 

Posted by: Mitch H. at Fri Aug 7 09:39:38 2009 (jwKxK)

6 Mitch H: Thankee For some reason that got me to thinking about the escort carriers, CVEs. http://www.navy.mil/navydata/navy_legacy_hr.asp?id=3 One of the things that was cool about that site was they had a photo of the USS Alabama with a deck load of USAAF fighter planes. They also have a brief of the battle of the Samar Sea, destroyers and escort carriers charge Japanese heavies.

Posted by: toadold at Fri Aug 7 19:18:45 2009 (UvMYT)

7 I'm with you.  The final straw for me was naming an attack sub after Jimmy Carter.  (It fills with with revulsion to even type that.)

Posted by: Toren at Fri Aug 7 23:37:01 2009 (T8y65)


Well, Carter served in submarines so it does make some sense. (Carter was a nuke.)

And Ford and Bush both served on carriers in WWII, so naming carriers after them makes sense.

Reagan didn't serve, on the other hand, so what in hell is a carrier doing named after him?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Sat Aug 8 00:31:03 2009 (+rSRq)

9 I know Carter served, and was a nuc engineer, but....
He was a gutless, clueless dork who almost ruined the country, and has spent the rest of his miserable life sucking up to dictators.  And despite knowing very well how safe nuclear power is, he almost single-handedly destroyed the US program (by killing the Savannah recycling plant, among other things) for political reasons.
I'd rather see an carrier named after Reagan than a attack sub named after Carter, when you look at their record as presidents.

Posted by: Toren at Sat Aug 8 03:28:10 2009 (T8y65)


Well, we named a CVN after Harry Truman, who almost killed the Navy (And most of the other parts of the Armed Forces.).  At least with Carl Vinson, the ship was named after a strong proponent and advocate of the Fleet [See Vinson Plans - which represented the expansion of the US Navy prior to 1940 in the run up to Pearl Harbor - and which was reponsible for ENTERPRISE and YORKTOWN, among others.].

The lack of HORNET I can understand, since it would be confusing with the F/A-18.  And remember, both LEXINGTON and SARATOGA were not names simply given to carriers - they were inherited from the battlecruisers under construction whose hulls were later used for carriers.  And of course, you have USS SHANGRI-LA.

And to be honest, I am not terribly fond of naming ships AMERICA or UNITED STATES.  It is similar to asking for trouble as naming a ship INVINCIBLE.

I do remember 10 years ago, there was a movement in the US Senate to name a CVN after the recently decommissioned LEXINGTON.  But there you get the problem, as examplified by Hyman Rickover when he went to naming the 688 boats after cities- "Fish don't vote!"

And considering how the Navy now spreads out the home ports of various ships, and even the case of the IOWA-class when they were built (Where FDR issued an executive order mandating the BBs be named after states whose name had not been used for the longest time in the US Navy - in no small part due to the incessant lobbying of Harry Truman.), that explains it all.


Posted by: cxt217 at Sat Aug 8 09:16:44 2009 (bXncS)

11 CVN76, USS Reagan was originally to be named the USS United States. While national names are generally discouraged, the USS United States was one of the first 6 frigates and had an exceptionally distinguished ~70 year career (comparable to USS Constitution) until her loss during the Civil War. This is a vessel that the USN has tried to honor with a front line ship 3 times now, first a CC (battlecruiser) the huge CV that was canceled and replaced with the smaller vessel that became Forrestal and finally the CVN 76.

 Regards Carter, he did give honorable service as a submariner and Steven Den Beste is right, there is a tenuous tradition of naming subs after submariners.

Well before the Rickover, and Carter the first US submarine was named after its inventor John P. Holland. The next submarine was to be named Fulton after the inventor and submariner (who designed the first practical military submarine) but it's purchase was canceled. After that the navy went with fish and reptile names until the Wilson administration switched to a European style alphanumeric system for no readily discernable reason. In the 19teens, fleet subs were briefly given the names of Navy heroes (like destroyers) because it was expected they would be used as submersible destroyers. Later they switched back to marine life and reptiles and started using spanish and Polynesian names when the naming comittee exausted their pocket naturalist. With a few exceptions this persisted through the 50s. Then, with the boomers, they just went clean off the rails.

At least one naval blogger has suggested that naming the ship Carter might inspire the crew to greatness...much like The Boy Named Sue.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sat Aug 8 13:27:42 2009 (V5zw/)


Well, another of the Original Six Frigates was named CONGRESS.  Not surprisingly, it had an undistinguished career.

I do not disagree with the tradition of the UNITED STATES, but the name really should not be used for a ship of war - that is asking for too much trouble in terms of propaganda value if it went down.

And in terms of strange, take a look at the history of the surviving Union monitors from the Civil War.  Most of them were renamed using classical names of mythology in the late 1860s by the Secretary of the Navy of the time - and most of those were renamed a few weeks later back to their original names.


Posted by: cxt217 at Sat Aug 8 17:09:47 2009 (bXncS)

13 Why isn't there any Perry or Lawrence? Sheesh, there's some names that shouldn't be let lie.

Posted by: Maureen at Tue Aug 11 17:30:10 2009 (L7Y6r)

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