“The last of the 14 Lewis and Clark-class cargo ships that General Dynamics NASSCO is building in San Diego will be named after Cesar Chavez, the late civil rights and labor leader. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will visit NASSCO on Tuesday afternoon to make the formal announcement. Some members of the Chavez family are expected to be in attendance, says NASSCO, which recently laid the keel of the ship.”

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/may/16/navy-ship-be-named-after-cesar-chavez/




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  • sid

    The guy hated being in the navy, and was quite public about it…

    And really never had anything good to say about the United States of America in general.

    Just be done with any pretense of dignity in ship naming, and peddle them off to sponsors du jour.

    Perhaps enough money can be raised for a cultural awareness program or a part of an LCS or something….

  • http://bostonmaggie.blogspot.com Maggie

    I’m sorry, SecNav Mabus can’t be serious.

    Alan Shepard………Richard Byrd……..Robert Peary

    Cesar Chavez?

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    It a question I have had for a long time. When will the Navy stand up for itself and its heritage? Anyone in uniform with 4-stars USN or USMC would be fine. Murtha and now this. Seriously. We demand sacrifice and courage from our field commanders – why don’t we ask the same from our leaders who battle nothing but beltway traffic?

    We have been at war for a decade. Only one living person has been awarded the MOH. So many have done so much – but we pass on a chance to honor those who honored their nation in uniform to throw some bone at a political patronage section totally unrelated to anything.

    … and people wonder why cynicism toward leadership both in uniform and civilian gets thicker and thicker.

    Oh, and if one more person quotes Rickover about voting fish – I will wish to Neptune that someone will do to their coffee what OS1 Xxxxx used to do XO Yyyyy’s morning cup almost ever day for an entire cruise.

    The argument about doing this for political support and our budget just defines what we are – the only argument is over the price

    The 8-yr old spoiled brat response of, “Well, we named a ship USS Aaaaa and USS Bbbbb after….” is just pathetic. Almost as valid as, “Sir, I only smoked Spice because everyone else was….”

    Good people can disagree about Cesar Chavez – but can anyone really tell me he is worth naming a ship after? Really?

    What, even tangentially, did Chavez think about the US military? We’ll – understand the man in context of his time. Listen to this reenactment of a speech he gave in 1971, and then tell me what you think.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4FP4JVoKMo

    If you are stumped about who we should name a ship after – just call any Marine Battalion Commander from 2003-2011. He could probably give you a name or two.

    Next, we should have the USS Emma Goldman, Timothy Leary, Elijah Muhammad, John Birch, Jerry Falwell, and Whittaker Chambers. Why not?

    Again, silence is approval. Senior Leadership speaks for us all. I assume that if our Senior Leadership are silent – then they approve. To ask junior personnel to demonstrate intellectual courage by writing and asking hard questions is one thing – I guess to demonstrate intellectual courage yourself is another thing altogether.

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    From our Naval History Blog: Rembering Lt John Finn: http://www.navalhistory.org/2010/05/27/remembering-lt-john-finn-usn/

  • Gannon McHale

    Seems to me to be a valid choice. I could understand some of the objections if it was a warship. However, this is a cargo ship. As for the character of Mr. Chavez, a simple internet query produced the following information:

    “Chavez himself was a third generation American citizen and a Navy veteran…in his prime he was an ardent opponent of illegal immigration and actively fought against the importation of strikebreakers from Mexico.” http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/fischer/070322

    “His issues were economic fairness, worker health and saftey and better living conditions for migrant workers. Samuel Gompers and Jimmy Hoffa sought the same things. None of these were “bleeding heart liberals”, socialists or communists, just people seeking a way to help achieve the American dream.” http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Was_Caesar_Chavez_a_socialist

  • sid

    As for the character of Mr. Chavez, a simple internet query produced the following information:

    In 1946, 17 year-old Cesar Chavez enlisted in the Navy, spending what he would later describe as “the two worst years of my life.”

    Nice recruiting symbol…No?

    Now, if you are pandering the Hispanic vote in a coming election…

  • CDR Lumpy

    25 Hispanic Medal of Honor winners, and instead they name it after Chavez. I am glad I am retiring from the Navy, and won’t be recommending the Naval Service to anyone.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Hispanic_Medal_of_Honor_recipients

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Secretary of the Navy Mabus should immediately recant such a stupid and politically pandering idea, and name the vessel for one of the 25 Hispanic winners of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    Then he should apologize for publicly announcing such an ill-considered and inappropriate thing.

    Then he should resign.

  • SwitchBlade

    Really sid – a seventeen year old Hispanic in the Navy in 1944-45 facing the racism and discrimination daily thought those were the worse years of his life – I’m shocked!! (Not really)

    Its a cargo ship being named after a notable American. Being raised here in Arizona, (and not being Hispanic) I had nothing but respect for the man and fight for the farm laborers; possibly the last bastion of organized racist discrimination in the U.S. To be so against the man that was instrumental in ending that discrimination is kind of curious.

    The war hero’s should have DDG’s named after them. I think its entirely appropriate to name a T-AKE after Cesar Chavez.

    By the way, while you will find that he described his two years in the Navy that way, he apparently didn’t dwell on it as he says nothing about the Navy in any of his Quotable Quotes.

    I also would not assume the USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE-2), was an attempt to get the Native American vote or the USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE-13) was an attempt to get the black vote.

  • sid

    Really sid – a seventeen year old Hispanic in the Navy in 1944-45 facing the racism and discrimination daily thought those were the worse years of his life – I’m shocked!! (Not really)

    Just curious switch…Were you around when Mr. Chavez was active?

    Also, show me where the USN of 1946 was such a terrible place for somebody like him?

    Indeed, if you wee to dig a bit deeper, you would see that it was actually a liberating environment.

    And yes, the latter names were PC as well. We are just accelerating down the slippery slope is all.

  • http://steeljawscribe.com Steeljaw Scribe

    The days when we had a 175-ship class much less a 500, 600 or more ship Navy available for expanded naming lists are fast receding in history’s wake. As such, the onus on our senior leaders to be even more discerning in selecting the names of *all* USS and USNS vessels is even more compelling and should be done with solemn introspection of our Navy’s as well as the Nation’s heritage.
    w/r, SJS

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    I think it is a very bad choice. Reasons? See above.

    “Worst two years of his life?” Not a reason to “honor” him.

  • Aubrey

    Bad idea – it just looks like after Secretary Mabus sold his honor to name the Murtha nothing was beyond him.

  • Peterk

    no way jose, or should that be no way cesar

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Barbara Boxer thinks this is a great idea.

    That should tell you something….

  • sid

    For those who may be steeped in the “Oliver Stone School of History”…

    Here is an interesting set of connections

    Fred Ross, a labor organizer who helped Cesar Chavez found the United Farm Workers union, died Sunday in San Rafael. He was 82 years old.

    Mr. Ross pioneered many of the strategies now used by community leaders to organize labor, minority, social reform and antiwar groups.

    “He discovered me, he inspired me,” Mr. Chavez said. “He thought I had what it took to be an organizer. He gave me a chance, and that led to a lot of things.”

    And none other than Saul Alinsky was Mr. Ross’s mentor

    Fred Ross’s result, well what we learned, the CSO which was part of Saul Alinsky and I like to tell the story; when I was in Orange County I went to Santa Ana and they had Camp Campesino, it was a Mexican American theatre group. They had a great show and I met veteran United Farm Workers there. We got in a circle, we started clapping, doing the Chicano clap. Those of you in MEChA are familiar with the Chicano clap. They started doing their vivas. “Viva Cesar Chavez,” “Que viva!” “Viva Dolores Huerta,” “Que viva!,” Viva Emelio Zapata,” :Que viva!” And then they say, “Que viva Saul Alinsky!” Saul Alinsky? Who is this Saul Alinsky guy?!

    Well many of the United Farm Worker veterans were trained by Fred Ross, who was also part of the Saul Alinsky Industrial Areas Foundation, which was this organization that went into communities and empowered disenfranchised people, poor people and they showed them how to take on the system, how to go to, for example, to city council meetings and how to leverage their strength. One example was, if you go to a city counsel meeting and threatened that your organization was going to have a chili cook off before they go to the meeting and yeah, yeah they are going to raise the steam, literally! Right?

    So, Secretary Mabus, go on ahead…name a ship after a guy who was nothing other than an outright subversive who had little good to say about this country.

    Just more of an indication of how far the USN has strayed from its supposed mission of fighting and winning wars at sea….

  • AT1 Charles H. Berlemann Jr

    Hmm, so SECNAVINST 5031.1C, http://tinyurl.com/SECNAVINST
    , says the naming convention and naming procedure lays with the SecNav and the NHHC gives him a list of names (according to Appendix C) which then leads to this:
    Appendix C. Para 6. Upon SECNAV’s selection of a name(s) of new construction ships, SECNAV PAO prepares a notification memorandum for distribution to the NHHC, the CNO, DNS, Chief of Naval Information (CHINFO), ASN(RD&A), DASN Ships, and the cognizant
    PEO.

    So that only seems to tell me that all those folks had to buy off on this name. Just using the least accurate reference out there, Wikipedia, I come up with a number of other names that fall into the same sort of naming conventions for the Lewis and Clark class, we should have gone with the following names:
    Franklin Chang-Diaz
    LtCol. Carlos Ismael Noriega USMC
    Ellen Lauri Ochoa
    to pick just three from the Astronaut portion of explorers. I am sure if we want to stay true to breaking the rules here are some other names that might be interesting to talk about the Latino/Hispanic hertigate of this nation:
    Romana Acosta Bañuelos
    Juan Bandini
    Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
    Tristán de Luna y Arellano
    Joseph A. Unanue

    Just to pick a few names that pop up with a simple internet research. Of course this might just be pandering to the most well known name in the Latino/Hispanic demographic.

  • William Anaderson

    The Navy has sunk to Political Correctness!! Sad that so many true American Hero’s are forgotten in order to appease a political agenda!
    I would hate to be in command in today’s Navy!! We have real Hispanic and other minority hero’s who deserve the honor. Most everyone can see through this. Shame on Sec Nav!!!!!

  • Jon D Csicsila

    WHY????? IT MAKES NO SENSE AND IT SERVES NO PURPOSE.

  • sid

    Might add too, that this remarkably inane idea originated with NASSCO…

    I’m sure it wasn’t to impress that other community organizer residing on Pennsylvania Ave -or more correctly, those Important Souls on his coat tails…

    Anyway…

    More on Chavez….

    In testimony before the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, Hicks will compare Chavez to Dr. King. Hicks will note that a “consensus that King’s life-long commitment to nonviolence and equal opportunity was unassailable” helped lead to the honor that is bestowed on locations such as the Lorraine Motel, the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, among other places.

    “This,” charges Hicks, “must be compared and contrasted with how Cesar Chavez dealt with violence as his UFW organizers often made use of strong-arm tactics against field workers in California’s Central and Coachella Valleys. One field organizer said he remembers seeing ‘loyal Chavez followers bash the heads of reluctant field laborers.’ He said the organizers ‘visited the fields, intimidating peasants with threats and violence.’ Despite the public persona as a man of peace and nonviolence, Chavez did or said little to reign in the violence, which may explain why it’s difficult to find farm workers who have anything good to say about him or the UFW. In fact, labor leaders who lead non-UFW farm worker associations hotly dispute the notion that Chavez or the UFW ever represented their views and challenge what they see as ‘mythology’ surrounding Chavez.”

  • Some Texan

    They’re gonna make a USN ship that picks fruits and vegetables?

  • MikeS

    I have to agree w/Salamander and the others!!!!! a “ship” ?!?!?!?!? give me a break!!!!! he hated the Navy and advertised it!!!!!! what are you people thinking?????? TOO MANY other Latino/Hispanic REAL heros out there to pick from that actually LOVED the Navy!!!!

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Next, we should have the USS Emma Goldman, Timothy Leary, Elijah Muhammad, John Birch, Jerry Falwell, and Whittaker Chambers. Why not?

    Again, silence is approval. Senior Leadership speaks for us all. I assume that if our Senior Leadership are silent – then they approve. To ask junior personnel to demonstrate intellectual courage by writing and asking hard questions is one thing – I guess to demonstrate intellectual courage yourself is another thing altogether.”

    You said a mouthful, sid. How about USNS Eugene Debs? Or the aforementioned USNS Saul Alinsky?

    Admiral Harvey seems to say an awful lot via the “new social media”, but can’t bring himself to utter one peep about this shameful political travesty in his Navy.

    As for CJCS Admiral Mullen, perhaps his personal views align with those of Cesar Chavez, to include the requirement to break heads of dissenters. How long until he tells us that we should enthusiastically back this kind of crap or “vote with our feet”? I am sure CNO approves heartily, as he gets one in the “thuggish and violent Hispanic labor organizer” bin.

    And Flag Officers wonder why nobody would follow them across the street. They lack all the moral fortitude. Times like this, it is on display for everyone to see.

  • Jay

    My assumption is — that if any Senior person — who had inputs on this & had a problem with this name — they prob voiced it to SECNAV staff directly. To think that CJCS, CNO, or ADM Harvey or any other Flag O is going to publicly fight this — is just nonsense. What would you have them do – bleat about it in blog comment sections? While that would prob please the pitchfork & torch set — it would be poor form, indeed.

    URR — you never seem to miss a chance to swipe at CJCS (it is almost an…unhealthy…obsession…). There are a lot of us who continue to follow CJCS, the CNO, and our Flag Os — even though we may not always agree with each one of their decisions.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Hmmm, am I the only one, but do we (DON) seem to have a ratio of bad/inept/purely political to good/really good SECNAV’s of about 3 or 4:1? Mabus is quickly descending the ladder to join John Dalton and others in my Hall of Shame.

    OT: So does anyone on the actual working staff at USNI have a date for the [i]real[/i][ Annual Meeting?

  • CDR Tom O’Malley, USN (Ret)

    Mr. Secretary, this is a very bad idea to say the least. Political correctness at its worst! Fist a ship named after Murtha who accused Marines of murder before there was a complete investigation and now this? Our ships should be named after men and women who have made positive contributions to the service and the country. As has been stated by others here, there are plenty of MoH awardees of Hispanic heritage much more deserving of this honor. The senior leadership of the Navy and Marine Corps need to take a stand and make it clear that ship names are designed to inspire and instill pride in their crews. Chavez does not measure up to that in any way, shape or form! Stop the madness! Mr. Secretary, resign.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Jay,

    Right on cue. You can find a way to defend ANY of this political pandering. And usually do.

  • http://blog.usni.org M. Ittleschmerz

    Jay – I agree, completely, with your thoughts and approach here.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Well, if you both agree, the I know I am onto something.

  • Stu

    We absolutely have no leadership in the Navy. None.

    It’s starting to be an embarrassment to be a part of this outfit.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    Jay & M.I.,
    It would not be in poor form. Was Admiral Sims in poor form WRT his comments on our shipbuilding upon his return from Europe? Was General Mitchell in poor form about airpower? Was VADM Connolly in poor form in his testimony about the F-111’s suitability?

    Of course, you are entitled to your opinion about those three men’s actions – as we all are. Would our Navy have been better served if they kept their comments private and to the grave? I don’t think so. All three men showed intellectual courage when it would have been easier just to smile and play company man for others who will never have to serve in or with the results of their decisions.

    Words mean things. Names mean things. If they don’t – then that too speaks volumes about how far we have fallen in our ability to stand on principal and right.

    As for Chavez himself – his opinion about the Navy and the military are well known and in his own words. Review the above, that is all you need to know about the appropriateness of this name.

    Facts mean things too for serious professionals. Feelings are for the weak of mind, body, and character.

  • sid

    What would you have them do – bleat about it in blog comment sections? While that would prob please the pitchfork & torch set — it would be poor form, indeed.

    Jay, do you know what DV Gallery did?

    Was he in “”poor form”?

  • sid

    For the next two USNS ships…(Combatants -dubious appellation these days btw- should all be named for soon to retire politicians, or for corporate sponsors in their districts)…how’s about Sacco and Vanzetti?

  • Stu

    I bet Jesse Jackson now has his hopes up.

  • Hank

    Absolutely horrible decision. Next I suppose we’ll see a USS Che Guevara or USS Bill Ayers. Why not name recognize a deceased Medal of Honor recipient or even some junior sailor who honorably stuck out an initial enlistment despite chronic seasickness.

    I will have to seriously rethink suggesting Naval or military service to youngsters as civilian leadership has becomes so blatantly political.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Sal – are you conflating the naming of a USNS with the statements made by Mitchell, Sims, and Connolly?

  • http://fredfryinternational.blogspot.com/ Fred Fry

    ‘Its a cargo ship’ Hmm, it is your supply line. also a theoretical high value target, but of course, only after it has been lost.

    As for naming, I think it has all been said above. Clearly other less than honorable forces are at work here as far as the naming process goes. The Murtha naming is a straight-up slap in the face. There is no reason to name this ship as they plan outside of some PC BS.

    Naming a ship should be such a simple matter where the end result people can immediately connect an approve of a name. That is not going to happen though with the current trend of naming ships after people. Naval history is full of great names that merit gracing a new hull.

    Children could do better naming a ship. They should be given a chance.

  • leesea

    let’s start with a couple of facts. The naming convetion for cargo ships before T-AKE was to use heavenly bodies. Then the USN switched to Explorers and Inventors. Now the USN is switching to political activist (as in community organizer~).

    Second just because this is a “cargo ship” comments are condescendign to begin with. This is a class of 14 Naval Auxiliaries “placed in service with the US Navy”. NFAF ships tend to stay in service a long time.

    Third there have been many more Hispanic naval leaders to honor rather than this short hitch seaman. I think we all see a fig leaf when we see one.

    Fouth for SECNAV to be so blatantly political and pandering discredits him and the office he holds.

    So on all accounts this is bad idea. Which BTW I have not seen an official announcement about?

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    M.I.,
    I’m not going to argue with you over how many angels fit on the head of a pen or which is a better small deer round, the .257 Roberts or .243 Winchester. You have your opinion, I have mine.

    I happen to fit in the group that believes that the same character that stands up to bullies on the playground at age 8 will stand up to tyrants at 48; those who won’t stand up for you among their friends will abandon you when confronted by your enemies. “Small” things matter, as they provide I&W on the “larger” ones.

    Just my world view, yours may differ.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    This is gonna be WAY off topic, but I can’t help myself!

    O, to have an AR-15 style weapon in .257 “Bobs” at about 90 grains. Compare it with the performance of the SS109, and one can easily see the difference in hitting power.

    There. I said it.

  • http://warthogswrants.blogspot.com Warthog

    I can’t tell you what I think about this abomination, it’s far too obscene and negative for this forum.

    How about a simple NO.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Sal – I think you are missing the point on what I said so I will restate it clearly and with few words.

    1. This issue is insignificant in the overall scheme of today’s world and as such the 4-stars will not comment on it. If they didn’t comment on the USNI mission debacle (even though they are members), didn’t comment on Captain Honors (to either support or denounce), and don’t comment on anything that hasn’t been vetted by a lawyer and a PAO…then why does anyone think they would comment about SECNAV’s decision on naming this ship (or any other)? That was the first point that Jay made and I agreed on.

    2. URR has a couple of drums that he beats and I agreed with Jay on that point.

    Yes, I get the “standing up to a bully” line…but too many commenters here and other places think a tyrant is someone they disagree with or doesn’t do what they want them to do. You may disagree with the naming of a ship after Cesar Chavez…I disagree with the idea and I disagreed with Murtha. And Fort Worth, and Milwaukee, and Fall River and a bunch more. But I do not think of Secretary Mabus as a tyrant, nor do I think any less (or any more) of the Flag officers who have not spoken out against this naming or any other.

    If you want to fight about all the small things, your choice. But I believe that just means people won’t listen to you when you want to talk about the important ones.

  • http://CGBlog.org Chuck Hill

    I also disagree with this, but naming aircraft carriers after political figures, particularly living past presidents, is an even more blatant abuse.

  • sid

    looking back, I remember when the naming conventions began to unravel in the late ’60s.

    L Mendell Rivers. Samuel Gompers. Carl Vinson. California class DLGs….

    In retrospect, each had a solid connection to Rickover in that late Vietnam period when budgets were constrained, and the USN was facing a massive “block obsolescence” problem.

    Puts his ‘nobody votes for fishes’ in perspective.

    And, oh my, how far down into the pig trough its all sunk to now.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    MI,

    You bet I meat that drum. We expect a 19-yr old PFC, filthy and tired, to take a deep breath and be the first through the door of what could be a fortified building, but those I mention haven’t the seeds to tell their bosses what a horrendously bad and inappropriate idea this is.

    And before you tell me I don’t know what they told him, you will have to show me an example in recent past where such input has not consisted of enthusiastic nods of approval and favorable comments regarding the emperor’s new clothes.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    M.I.,
    That is a few words? Snort. Here is how you do it.
    _____
    In resp. to your paras.
    1. Thanks for making my point.
    2. I never said Mabus was a tyrant.
    ______
    Also;
    “Chief, don’t bother me with Seaman Timmy’s inability to manage his finances. If he commits a major USCJ violation, then bother me. These small things don’t matter and are never indications of other issues a Sailor may have in his life. If I make the command get involved in Seaman Timmy’s debt issues, how will anyone know I am a serious leader when I speak to them about DUI or domestic violence? My time is much more important than these silly debt issues. Now, get to work on my end of tour award and make sure we have RC Cola when the Admiral visits. Everyone knows he likes RC Cola and I want him to remember how much I … errr … I mean we pay attention to important details.”

    How does that leadership style work for ‘ya? :)

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    URR – C’mon – you are making things up to fit your own paradigm. You can no more prove that “enthusiastic nods of approval” occured than you can prove that no one has “the seeds to tell their bosses what a horrendously bad and inappropriate idea this is”.

    Look, as I have repeatedly said…there’s disagreeing with a decision and saying so, and there’s insulting someone because you disagree with their decision.

    One is a professional act. The other is not.

  • sid

    MI, since Jay is ignoring the question…

    Do you think that DV Gallery – or for that matter, the rest of the navy flags involved- acted appropriately here?

    Comments…or not…are telling.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Sal…yes, I know it was more than a few words. I got on a roll.

    As for that second piece – the RC Cola leadership style? Sure, that happens. Is that what you think is going on with leadership not commenting on the naming of a ship Cesar Chavez? Because I think it’s a lot more like this:

    “Chief, you serious? Seaman Timmy named his kid Abracadabra? Oh, well.”

    Got it with the Mabustyrant, but you sure seemed to imply that in your “stand up to tyrants at 48″ line.

    Look – there are all sorts of things to get up in arms over in today’s Navy. And there are professional, even courteous, ways to do it. But to spend all this time on the Cesar Chavez thing? It shows that we as bloggers and commenters are as incapable of separating important from not-important as we often claim leadership is.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Sid – Do I think DV Gallery acted properly? I’ve not read “Don’t Let Them Scuttle the Navy” but it’s difficult to defend something that prompted the SecDef to want him courtmartialed for insubordination.

    Those who resigned in protest and then went on to argue against what SecDef Johnson was doing and wanted – perfectly appropriate.

    But, if anyone in the Navy chose to resign in protest over the naming of a ship I would frankly question their sanity.

  • http://TheoSpark Arnie Gallegos

    It’s about time! A great American who was an activist ensuring human rights for migrant workers. How American is that? Just think, the produce we eat and get for great prices at the grocery store were perhaps harvested by migrant workers (both Latino and White). There have been many American heroes and he certainly is one of them. A U.S. postal stamp issued and we even celebrate a national holiday in his honor. Again, I say, AMEN! Tributes to great American heroes are always okay. Read his history and revel in his positive contributions and then comment. Don’t comment out of ignorance and racism. White people don’t have a hold on patriotism in this country. It is shared by many!

  • sid

    But, if anyone in the Navy chose to resign in protest over the naming of a ship I would frankly question their sanity.

    So. You are saying then that ships are not representative icons of the nation which fields that navy?

    Or that ships names are not reflective of that navy’s priorities?

    Or is that an MSC ship isn’t as important as a CV in that regard?

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    - You are saying then that ships are not representative icons of the nation which fields that navy?

    No, I said I would question the sanity of anyone who chose to resign in protest over the naming of a ship.

    – Or that ships names are not reflective of that navy’s priorities?

    Didn’t say that. But that is something of a stretch. What “priority” does “Milwaukee” indicate? Or “John Lenthall”?

    – Or is that an MSC ship isn’t as important as a CV in that regard?

    Didn’t say that either.

    So, the answer to all three of your questions is: No, I did not say that.

  • saltysam

    I can only support the many foregoing comments that indicate this is a bad/sad move by the political class.

    No doubt about it: The 2011 Navy has gone to hell in a handbasket.

  • http://www.informationdissemination.net/ Galrahn

    This issue gets distorted if people think it is about Cesar Chavez.

    My problem is specifically with the criteria being used to guide choices for naming ships.

    In a shrinking Navy, when naming ships after people, those people should have made a significant contribution to both the Navy or Marine Corps, and the country. People should meet both criteria, not just one.

    So in my book, John Murtha would fit that criteria, because during his political career and as a Marine he contributed to both service and country. Cesar Chavez only meets the second criteria of contributing towards country, not the first criteria which I believe is important. When they name CVN-79 Ted Kennedy, I’ll support it, because Senator Kennedy was a major supporter of the Navy for decades (thanks Raytheon!), and made a significant contribution to this country as a leader in the Senate for decades.

    Because names are becoming politicized, there will be objection with the naming of a ship after Ted Kennedy, just as we see silly complaints by folks after the Navy named a submarine after Jimmy Carter, who was both a submariner and oh btw, a President of the United States also known as Commander in Chief.

    The Navy History and Heritage aspect of ship names is not trivial. I thought Duncan Hunter did well in putting out his reasoning for his objection. I also think Ray Mabus has done a poor job upholding the Heritage and History of the Navy with his allocation of ship names.

    I also disagree with people who say ship names are not important. They matter. They matter at fleet week, and they certainly matter a lot in an age of communication.

  • sid

    Didn’t say that. But that is something of a stretch. What “priority” does “Milwaukee” indicate? Or “John Lenthall”?

    As I mentioned above, this has been a long sad slide for over 40 years.

    Now its getting outright absurd.

    And yes. It is something “big” enough to take a stand on.

  • sid

    This issue gets distorted if people think it is about Cesar Chavez.

    Whats distorted is the sympathetic myth of the man…

    Would the PLAN name a ship…even a “lowly cargo ship”…Liao Yiwu?

  • sid

    I’ll support it, because Senator Kennedy was a major supporter of the Navy for decades (thanks Raytheon!), and made a significant contribution to this country as a leader in the Senate for decades.

    A “leader”?

    Yeah.

    He sure exhibited leadership skills in that sinking car -and in the hours after- that long ago night.

    More sad absurdity.

  • M. Ittlrschmerz

    Ship names are important. Are they important enough for a flag officer to resign in protest over?

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    M.I.,
    You need to review blogger rule #1; there are no rules.

    What is important is in the eye of the blogger. You may have an opinion on what is important or not – but you do not define what is important or not to a blog or blogg’r.

    Bloggers sticking to only “serious” things. Mmmm. I remember when people thought that LT Black’s show trial at USNA was not important. A couple of bloggers picked it up and ….

    I remember when people said that the Navy’s lack of Riverine forces wasn’t important. Well, a couple of bloggers took up the issue who had Senate staffers as regular readers and …

    I remember when people said that how USNA Color Guard members are picked wasn’t important. Well, a couple of bloggers took up the issue and …

    I remember when people said that the question of if NLSO was ever going to be part of or useful to the LCS program was not important and blogg’n about it was a waste of time. Well …..

    Be careful what you stamp as “serious” enough for – of all things – a blogger to cover.

    From Cat Blogging to Strategic Directions – it is all important to the blogger …. because that is what the blogger finds interesting. Most bloggers, ahem, really don’t care what others think about the subjects they blog about. They like the subject, and hope others do as well – if not, they don’t care. It isn’t like they charged anyone to read it.

    Anyway – a little message to Admin about the importance of this issue. Look at the comment numbers for this post and the last 50 posts on USNIBlog. Traffic and comments are indications of importance/interest.

    Nuff said on that. Opinions may differ, but numbers speak.

    (Truth in blogg’n: OK, I do pout a bit when I put out an “important” post that only gets single digit comments and no links. After all, I am, as all bloggers are, a type-A narcissist. It even happens to ‘ole Sal….)

  • UltimaRatioReg

    The USS Ted Kennedy?

    “It is reported that CVN-79 rolled violently to port and sank in shallow water off the Edgartown bridge. The lone survivor was the Captain, who did not report the loss of the vessel until the next morning.”

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    +1 URR. Someone should write the OPREP-3…..

  • sid

    I’ll support it, because Senator Kennedy was a major supporter of the Navy for decades (thanks Raytheon!)

    Then why not just name it USS Raytheon, and make them pay a yearly license fee?

    Or USS Boston (which, according to the USN’s math, would rate as a “mid-sized” city.)

    And “continue the practice” of coming up with completely disingenuous reasons why a ship is named what it is…

    Its this cynical kind of stuff that nobody seems to have the courage to stand up and fight.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Its this cynical kind of stuff that nobody seems to have the courage to stand up and fight.”

    Now, sid. MI says there is no way we can know that. And we are inventing it to fit our paradigm.

    “Then why not just name it USS Raytheon, and make them pay a yearly license fee?”

    Sid may be onto something. Let’s allow the defense contractors to put advertisements all over the ships, and charge for the privilege, so that the US Navy could be like NASCAR and have sponsors!

  • http://aw1tim.wordpress.com AW1 Tim

    1.) Warships of Cruiser and above should be named for famous battles.

    2.) Boomers should be named for states.

    3.) SSN/SS should named for fish

    4.) Combatants below cruiser should be named for Veterans of distinguished service. MoH, Navy Cross, etc.

    5.) All other vessels save garbage scows and barges should bear the names of US Cities

    6.) Garbage scows and barges should be named for community organizers & activists.

    That’s my thought. YMMV, of course.

    V/R

  • sid

    Do I think DV Gallery acted properly? I’ve not read “Don’t Let Them Scuttle the Navy” but it’s difficult to defend something that prompted the SecDef to want him courtmartialed for insubordination.

    Somewhere in his autobiography “Eight Bells”, DV talks about the importance of naming ships. The copy I have is an old creaky paperback, so I have to be gentle with it.

    While looking, I found this about that whole affair. Apparently wiki is only partly right as usual. It was another article that landed him in the seriously hot seat.

    Anyway. Its interesting to note those who DID come to his defense…

    DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
    OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
    WASHINGTON

    18 Jan 1950

    My Dear Dan-

    I have read and reread that article which you wrote in Collier’s for the issue of January 11th entitled, “if This Is Be Treason” in which you put your cards on the table, indeed.

    I must say that the article was well written and I hope most people will read and reread it because you tell the thruth, at least as I see it. The time has come for our people to understand that a proper officer does not like to be made a mere yes-man. Otherwise, as you have said, the police state is close at hand.

    Thanking you for your good work,

    Faithfully yours,
    EARNEST J KING
    Fleet Admiral

  • sid

    I’ll support it, because Senator Kennedy was a major supporter of the Navy for decades (thanks Raytheon!)

    Then why not just name it USS Raytheon, and make them pay a yearly license fee?

    Or USS Boston (which, according to the USN’s math, would rate as a “mid-sized” city.

    Or even better yet…The USS Chappaquiddick…His most famous test in battle.

    That way, at least there would be some continuity in carrier naming conventions.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Rules, Sal?

    Seems that the only “rule” is that there can be no disagreement. What happened to “creative friction” or would it be easier if I prefaced every comment with “I believe” or “My opinion is”?

    Look, I say again…it is one thing to disagree with an action. It is something else to impugn the character of a Flag officer because you disagree with that opinion.

    This isn’t your front porch…or mine. But it is my firm opinion that the sort of sniping against the character and honor of Flag officers that is done in these comments should not be done at USNI.

  • Byron

    As the sole career civilian in this fine “discussion”, I will say this: If not another damn politician or civilian was honored by having a US Navy ship named after them it’d be a wonderful thing. As much as I respected Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt, I’d prefer my carriers to be named silly things like “Saratoga” or “Wasp”. I’d like my ship o’ the line (CGs) named after famous battles. I’d like my boomers (since they are the modern battleships) named after states and my SSNs named after the fish they resemble. I want my tin cans and frigates named after sailors who gave their all to the US Navy. But NEVER, EVER again a damn politician or civilian! We have to be better than this and we have to quit kissing Congress’s ass by naming warship after hack politicians or pukin’ popular civilians, all in the name of budget and votes! We have to be better than this, or else the whole thing is going straight to hell in a handbasket! Since I’m paying for this mess, and I’ve got a nice arraingment of scars and old injures from keeping your neat little ships haze grey and underway I figure I got skin in this game.

    Jay, M.Ittleschmerz, it MATTERS. The kids coming into the Navy today have to know the history of the ships name. They have to have something to be proud of, something to make them want to keep things workign the way they need to be and to stand by their stations and give their all when the time comes. Morale starts at the quarterdeck. Give them a quarterdeck to be respected.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    M.I.,
    You say, “Seems that the only “rule” is that there can be no disagreement.”

    Really. Direct that at someone else, because you can’t have read anything in this thread and think that about me.

    Shall I do one of my favorite things, quote myself? Why of course …. and I’ll start with archaic English to boot!!

    Sal spake:
    -“Good people can disagree about Cesar Chavez…”
    -“Of course, you are entitled to your opinion about those three men’s actions – as we all are. ”
    -“You have your opinion, I have mine. … Just my world view, yours may differ.”

    Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean that they are trying to take away your right to speak a different opinion. I don’t agree with you, you don’t agree with me – woopee, take a number!

    Gee wizz Shipmate. How long have we known each other? You know me better than that.

  • Dan Alexander

    Mr. Secretary Mabus,
    Please undertake further research respecting the rumored proposal of naming a federal ship after Cesar Chavez. I personally dealt with him. At base he was a scoundrel cloaked in messianic garb, or, in less poetic terms, he headed an organization dedicated to skimming off a fraction of the wages paid farm workers. I believed farm workers should organize. I believed farm workers, my employes, should comprehend the costs of union representation. No, Cesar said. Just check off the deduction on their checks and send it to the UFW. His sidekick, Dolores Huerta, was even more vehemently absolute in this skimming operation.
    Chavez does not deserve to be memorialized, as rumored may be the case.
    Thank you for considering this heartfelt opinion and factual experience.
    Regards,
    Dan Alexander

  • Jay

    Sadly, though, the sniping will be done…because they can… I would guess the same folks didn’t have “the seeds” (lol) to do the same in their wardrooms, but if they did, and if they were allowed to let it degenerste to this level, then the SOPA in the wardroom at the time failed in his or her responsibility to remind the pitchfork and torch crowd of decorum (and decency…). Not much thought ahead of time, just vent and click “post”. I agree with AW1 Tim’s naming convention, until he ends with childish absurdity. Sal – sorry, but, like many bloggers, you vastly overestimate your effect. Galrahn is correct, this is an important issue. But it doesn’t rise to the level of resigning, or firing. That’s just silly. This is the ying and yang of the Internet – lots more stuff to consider on a daily basis. Some folks have a hard time deciding how to prioritize what needs (deserves?) their input, or that their input even adds to the conversation. Sometimes I wonder if Andrew Sullivan doesn’t have it right – posts with no coments section, he’ll address the e-mails that he gets if he feels they raise points that need addressing. Perspective, pls, Ladies and Gents…

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Sal – my response was largely due to what I perceived as a lecture from you on “there ain’t no rules”. As I have said before, if the shoe doesnt fit, don’t try and pull it on.

    Most of my issues with comments here have to do with wholesale reimagining of what I wrote, an unnecessary infusion of politics, and the incessant allegations of some that Navy leadership is nothing but a bunch of political hacks and amoral toadies.

    Sal – you always choose your words carefully, but this isn’t about you.

  • P.S. Wallace

    My windmill-tilt-of-the-day:

    I think ship names need to start coming exclusively out of the CNO’s office, modified at SecNav level by exception only, which exception would then require approval of Congress by 60% vote (each house) to sustain override of CNO recommendation.

    I understand the difficulty in getting political fingers off this “psychic pork”, but I think it necessary (however unlikely). Since I’ve gone full fantasy anyway, I’ll also offer the following proposed guidance for ship naming:

    “In choosing names of vessels, the Chief of Naval Operations shall be guided by several principles: he should choose those names which serve to amplify Naval fighting spirit via heritage, tradition, emotional or other kinds of ascetic appeal (e.g. Bonhomme Richard, Wasp, Lexington, Tang, Wahoo, Hartford, Ranger, Intrepid, Dauntless, Corsair, Schweinfurt, Independence, Liberty); names which serve to unify the American public as a whole via either geographic identification or common themes/heritage/pride or significant and widely known historic personages (e.g. City and state names; America, United States, Constitution, Republic, President, Congress, Liberty, Independence, Lincoln, Washington, John Adams, T. Roosevelt, Yorktown, Lexington, Gettysburg, Alamo, Selma Bridge, Columbia, Eagle, Apollo 8, Apollo 11, Lewis and Clark, Martin Luther King, Sitting Bull, Simon Bolivar) names which can serve a diplomatic purpose abroad without compromising either fighting spirit or principles of American republicanism (Freedom, Liberty, Comfort, Churchill); or, for smaller vessels, names of deceased Navy and Marine Corps-associated personnel worthy of commemoration and recognition. Naming of ships after those who have come to honor mainly from political office is prohibited unless the honoree has been dead 20 years (“Murtha rule”). Naming of naval vessels for currently living personages who have come to honor mainly from service in conditions of danger is acceptable, though desired to be very limited so that it may be maintained as an remarkable honor (e.g., Burke).

    Names which serve only to please important personages who transitorily occupy positions of power will be avoided to the maximum extent possible, preferably to such success that a request to do such will be regarded as a near-criminal act due to its extreme rarity. Inputs from those outside the sea service uniformed ranks on ship names will be directed to the Naval History and Heritage Command for consideration.

    The ability of the Navy to retain the right to name its own ships rests mainly on the skill and ability of those holding the power to so do to realize that if the American people at large are inspired by the names chosen, they will continue to employ in the job the organization that successfully did so. Thus, every ship name is, in essence, a covenantal act between the sea services and the citizens of the Republic, and should be thought of in that light.”

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    M.I.,
    If you want to threadjack this and make it about me an you, OK — but I was rude in that I did not address your second issue above. Here you go:

    As for the Flag Officers you are defending from my little tapping away on a keyboard – please tell me what is out of line with any of these comments and questions?
    — “We demand sacrifice and courage from our field commanders – why don’t we ask the same from our leaders who battle nothing but beltway traffic?”
    — “To ask junior personnel to demonstrate intellectual courage by writing and asking hard questions is one thing – I guess to demonstrate intellectual courage yourself is another thing altogether.”
    — “I happen to fit in the group that believes that the same character that stands up to bullies on the playground at age 8 will stand up to tyrants at 48; those who won’t stand up for you among their friends will abandon you when confronted by your enemies. “Small” things matter, as they provide I&W on the “larger” ones. ”

    Where are those observations out of order in a free republic – or for USNI? Is a single person named in any of the above – or is it the inaction of an institutional group?

    Look at Sid’s quote above. Look at FADM King’s quote. Look at the Flag Officers I quoted before – especially Sims. No, our Flag Officers are strong enough men and women to be treated the same as everyone else in the marketplace of ideas.

    If we don’t ask, “Where is senior leadership?” then who do we ask for action from on these issues? Do we want those concerned with our Navy and out national security to meekly avoid holding anyone to account for actions or inaction simply due to their paygrade? That is not what a free people do – at least that is my opinion. Yours may differ.

  • P.S. Wallace

    Oh, back to the Chavez: I’m still undecided. That is because I don’t know enough about his life, and in particular the charges that despite the public persona he tacitly condoned “hard-nosed” tactics by the UFW. This is because I would hate to have those who spent the last forty years telling us all the flaws of previous American icons try to give us new ones equally flawed–but demand we look not at the clay feet of their heroes even as they point out those of others. So I ask the question–is the man worthy of the honor? What do he do right? What did he do wrong? What should be praised? What should be condemned?

    The act of naming a ship after an individual who has not earned recognition based on military-related exploits is essentially an act of American civic sanctification–that this is a person *all* Americans should consider an American of honor, an American of good repute. Despite whatever flaws that person might have had. Thus, it cannot be given as an interest group balancer, or a political favor, or we lose the idea of a common American-ness, of a shared experience of liberty and the struggle for liberty.

    Chavez is relatively little known outside certain circles (sorry, true), with those circles usually being more commonly associated with political movements that rarely (if ever) achieve national majorities, and so the question becomes do we as a nation elevate this man to civic sainthood? I am not saying yea/nay one way or the other (though not inclined automatically to say nay to the name), but I merely pose the question because if he meets a certain test I have no issue with this entire thing. What I have an issue with is if someone says I cannot ask the question.

    As far as Chavez thinking the Navy was the worst two years of his life–if I was Hispanic in ’44 I might not be too keen on that Navy either.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “As far as Chavez thinking the Navy was the worst two years of his life–if I was Hispanic in ’44 I might not be too keen on that Navy either.”

    Tell it to the sailor on the picket line off Okinawa, or fighting fires on CV-13.

  • Mittleschmerz

    OK – so I had a comment somewhere that got deleted or something. Sal, this isn’t about you. Or me. It’s about stuff like this:

    sid: Just be done with any pretense of dignity in ship naming, and peddle them off to sponsors du jour.

    URR: Secretary of the Navy Mabus should immediately recant such a stupid and politically pandering idea, and name the vessel for one of the 25 Hispanic winners of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
    Then he should apologize for publicly announcing such an ill-considered and inappropriate thing.
    Then he should resign.

    Aubrey: it just looks like after Secretary Mabus sold his honor to name the Murtha nothing was beyond him.

    URR: And Flag Officers wonder why nobody would follow them across the street. They lack all the moral fortitude. Times like this, it is on display for everyone to see.

    URR: Right on cue. You can find a way to defend ANY of this political pandering. And usually do.

    Stu: We absolutely have no leadership in the Navy. None. It’s starting to be an embarrassment to be a part of this outfit.

    Fred Fry: Clearly other less than honorable forces are at work here as far as the naming process goes.

    leesea: Fouth for SECNAV to be so blatantly political and pandering discredits him and the office he holds.

    Salty Sam: The 2011 Navy has gone to hell in a handbasket.

    Look – I am not “defending the Flag officers”. I am calling out those who are attacking them. I am not saying that naming the ship for Chavez was the right thing to do. I am saying it’s wasted bandwidth to go on and on about it.

    I will agree with this from URR, however: “Again, silence is approval” as well as this from another wise man: “Words mean things. Names mean things. If they don’t – then that too speaks volumes about how far we have fallen in our ability to stand on principal and right.”

    This won’t affect you directly, but I do hope that Admin is reading this. I am done with reading outsiders whine, complain, bemoan, besmirch the Navy and the Navy’s leaders in personal attacks.

    Attack the policy. Attack the idea. Attack the decision. DIscuss. Debate. Argue. But I will call out over and over and over again those who I see making unprofessional personal attacks against either the leadership of the Navy OR other posters.

    Words matter. I will stand for principal. I will not be silent.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    M.I.,

    Fair.

    Now, go have some ice cream. My 10-yr old just told me that she and her sister made some Stracciatella.

    I don’t know about you, but for me time to nom, nom, nom……

  • sid

    “As far as Chavez thinking the Navy was the worst two years of his life–if I was Hispanic in ’44 I might not be too keen on that Navy either.”

    I’ve seen ’44 and ’46…

    As can be seen, his navy connection is so tenuous its nearly invisible.

    But what bothers me most is this idea that discrimination was so much worse in the military than it was on the outside.

    Another NHHC message fail in the offing I fear.

    Not that they haven’t made it a point -by inference in the title of the restructured command- with the term “Heritage”…

    And have tried in the conventional diversity way of portraying color on their website…

    But the fact of the matter is, that it was the wholesale enlistment of blacks during the war in particular, but hispanics too, which primed the cultural pump for the civil rights movement.

    For the first time in their lives, folks like Chavez were engaged from the fundamental standpoint of, “do your job;thats what matters most.”

    And most came out of it with a liberated viewpoint.

    All this idea that the military was a cesspool of, “A Soldier’s Story” racial injustice is simply yet more of that Oliver Stone caliber history making a mucked up mess of things….

  • http://www.navycaptain-therealnavy.blogspot.com Mike Lambert

    Once you swallow USS JOHN P. MURTHA (LPD-26), the rest of it goes down easy. I wrote the SECNAV three letters about it. He never answered one.

  • Mittleschmerz

    Ice cream? I wish. SWMBO just asked “can you watch my end of year video for V’s school?”

    Oh, and PRT weigh-in soon…some of us still have to do that. ;)

  • P.S. Wallace

    “As far as Chavez thinking the Navy was the worst two years of his life–if I was Hispanic in ’44 I might not be too keen on that Navy either.”

    Tell it to the sailor on the picket line off Okinawa, or fighting fires on CV-13.”

    Okay, dude–yeah, and some of those same guys had been the guys roaming the streets of Los Angeles looking for Zoot Suiters to beat up in ’43. Rough men, middle of night, all that. Being a brave man fighting for a good cause and doing it well still doesn’t preclude Cesar Chavez from having (or not having) very valid reasons to feel as he did. To his credit, he did volunteer when he was 17. I don’t know the details for the rest, or why he felt as he did, or if it was justified. But it was a racist Navy at times, and that’s all there is to it, because it was a racist country at times. And I love that Navy with all my heart and soul, and that country too. But I don’t have blinders.

    If I have failed some kind of purity test of yours, well, I’ll probably still sleep soundly tonight.

  • sid

    OK – so I had a comment somewhere that got deleted or something. Sal, this isn’t about you. Or me. It’s about stuff like this:

    sid: Just be done with any pretense of dignity in ship naming, and peddle them off to sponsors du jour.

    MI, you are right selective in your sensibilities of what is proper and what is not.

    Apparently you have no problem then that the USN is sporting an outright Stalin era style lie as long as it keeps this up in navy.mil?

    The announcement continues the practice of naming the agile LCS vessels after American midsized cities, small towns and communities. For more than 150 years, the patriotic citizens of Fort Worth have supported the Navy and all of our men and women in uniform. Home to ranger outposts, training facilities, aviation depots, and defense manufacturing, Fort Worth has answered the call whenever our nation needed it.

    a. Until this announcement, the USN had said nothing about naming Freedom or Independence after a municipality. So much for that “continuing the practice” tripe.

    b. Fort Worth is one of of the 15 largest cities in the US -which hosts many thousands of “cities, small towns, and communities.” Indeed, the MSA -“community” of which it it a principal part- is one of the largest in the world.

    c. Oh. And Fort Worth’s largest employer happens to be Lockheed Martin, the prime contracting the USS Fort Worth.

    So spare me MI.

    I will stick with what “Uncle Ernie” had to say a generation ago…

    The time has come for our people to understand that a proper officer does not like to be made a mere yes-man. Otherwise, as you have said, the police state is close at hand.

  • sid

    Okay, dude–yeah, and some of those same guys had been the guys roaming the streets of Los Angeles looking for Zoot Suiters to beat up in ’43.

    You are right mired in stereotypes PS.

    For most minorities, service during WWII, allowed them to be treated form a standpoint of meritocracy for the first time in their lives.

    Indeed, it was that collective cultural experience which lay the seed of the civil rights movement.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Sid – I think you’d be fine with “yes men”…if they agreed with you.

    I didn’t take issue so much with “what” you said but “how” you said it.

    Oh, and read this from 2005:

    Special release from the U.S. Department of Defense

    WASHINGTON (NNS) — Secretary of the Navy Gordon England has selected the name “Freedom” for the Navy’s first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

    The future USS Freedom acknowledges the enduring foundation of our nation and honors American communities from coast to coast which bear the name Freedom. States having towns named Freedom range from New York to California, and include Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

    http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=18270

  • sid

    On the naming:

    I do remember that MI.

    At the time there was much discussion of what was “really” meant by the names, and that announcement was a straight up afterthought.

    Now show me one for Independence which “continued the practice” please…

    And “how I said it?

    To your first point, that would make me just like you MI…

    And we are definitely not the same in that regard.

  • sid

    Oh and Fort Worth…

    Mid Sized?

    It ranks variously between 15th and 16th in size in the US

    Continuing the practice”?

    Of what exactly…

    Other than perpetuating an outright cynical and craven method in naval ship naming over the last decade.

    I know. Its just a “little” lie not getting worked up over.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Mr. Wallace,

    No purity test, and you make many valid points. However, Chavez did little but bad-mouth the US Navy, and for that matter, this country, in his public remarks.

    I had the distinct honor of serving aboard USS Miller (FF-1091), named after Dorie E. Miller, winner of the Navy Cross for his actions on 7 December 41 aboard West Virginia. There is currently no vessel bearing Miller’s name in the US Navy, and I daresay that Petty Officer Miller, who certainly faced discrimination, would never have called his time in the Navy “the worst years of his life.” Which ended, by the way, when Liscombe Bay (CVE-56) was sunk off the Gilberts while supporting the Tarawa invasion.

    Such men are whom we should honor. Not someone like Chavez.

  • sid

    Now, this I find kinda ironic

    A CNN article quotes San Francisco’s Randy Shaw, executive director of the city’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic, as saying that Chavez’s “absolute core beliefs was nonviolence.” Shaw goes on to speculate that Chavez probably wouldn’t want a military vessel named after him.

    But now CNN has pulled down that Shaw quote.

    So, per MI…its about “how” you say it after all.

  • sid

    Ahh…

    I found the quote. It appears lifted verbatim form the pre-redacted CNN link that I read a few hours ago..

    Even some proponents of Cesar Chavez are questioning the Navy’s choice of his name. “We’re talking about a person who believed in nonviolence — the absolute core belief was nonviolence,” said Randy Shaw in San Francisco, where he is the executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. Shaw also is the author of “Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century,” published in 2008. “Do you think he would want a military ship named after him?” Shaw asked. “It seems pretty unlikely.”

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Sid – http://www.navy.mil/navydata/people/secnav/Winter/Speech/INDEPENDENCE%20christening%204%20Oct%2008%20rel.pdf. Read page 2.

    So…you want to continue with this?

    If you paid attention to what I’ve written in these comments and on this blog you’d know that i am not a “yes man” for the Navy, or you. I have my own thoughts and opinions. Sometimes they line up with leadership. Sometimes they don’t.

  • sid

    Fair enough…

    But I will swim away from the gunwale insisting it was an afterthought, and still leaves that “continuing the practice” with naming the Fort Worth in the same vein as disingenuous.

    You see such things as a nonproblem, and I see them as indicative of a wider malaise.

    A situation that is ripe for a neo-insurgency

    btw, that is directly tied to the vintage link I put up on your post earlier if you haven’t read it yet…

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Oh, I agree that Fort Worth is disingenuous and said as much farther up the page…but the tracks were better covered for Freedom and Independence. Though I still think an Armageddon fan pulled a fast one on leadership with the names and everything else is a coverup of that.

  • sid

    (pushed off the gunwale…)

    Now I have to see if I can find that Gallery quote…

    cheers

  • John

    Although I though that naming a gator after corruptocrat Murtha was as low as we could go in naming our dwindling number of hulls, I was obviously wrong.

    Naming ships after community organizers is the lowest form of purely partisan politically correct BS I could have ever imagined!

    What next? USNS Bill Ayers or USS John A. Walker?

    Mr. Secretary, have you no shame, nor sense of history to allow this sort of foolishness to happen? Your predecessor, Senator Jim Webb had the courage to resign over inappropriate demands placed on him as Secretary.

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    @ M. Ittleschmerz “OK – so I had a comment somewhere that got deleted or something.”

    No comments have been deleted.

    But I would remind all of the gentlemen in this conversation to stick to the issue of the naming of the ship and to put down your snarktillery. It helps no one. Respectful people can debate a polarizing issue

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Admin,

    This is a great post. More like it, please.

    The polarizing issue here, it would seem, is not the naming of USNS Caesar Chavez, which is just about universally condemned (here, at least) as being highly inappropriate and driven by narrow political motivations.

    What IS in debate is the extent to which senior Navy officers had input to SECNAV, and whether they believed such a decision was indeed appropriate (which calls their judgment into serious question), whether they kept silent in expressing dissent or voiced agreement regardless of professional viewpoint (which brings into question their moral and intellectual courage), or did indeed voice their objections as strongly as most here think they should have and were ignored by SECNAV, which rightly brings scrutiny to his performance of duty.

  • http://blog.usni.org M. Ittleschmerz

    @Admin – there are 7 comments in the “hook locker”. The one I referenced, 2 from John, and one each from Jay, Arnie Gallegos, sid, and Dan Alexander. Posting here so they know that their comments were not deleted.

  • Diogenes of NJ

    Supply ship aye…. will it carry grapes?

    BTW submarines are to be named after sea creatures, not necessarily fish.

    – Kyon

  • Diogenes of NJ

    It’s a target – doesn’t make any diffrence who they name it after.

    – Kyon

  • Salty Gator

    Switchblade, just like I wouldn’t name a ship after a white guy who serves in the Navy for only 2 undistinguished years and leaves because he couldn’t stand the Diversity Industry and the bias against him for being white, I would never name a ship after Chavez.

    You want to talk about someone who served in the Navy, loved and loves the Navy, served in a time of social challenge, let’s talk about Chief Petty Officer Bill Cosby.

  • Rich B.

    I like many others in attempts to look at this apolitically return to the “guidance” the CNO and company are supposed to follow (as P.S quoted above)

    Chavez does nothing to amplify the fighting spirit of the Navy, uphold it’s traditions or heritage. If anything his own words work contrary to this inspiration.

    His name fails to “unify the public as a whole” as witnessed by the many disagreements.

    Chavez does nothing to serve a diplomatic purpose; and if anything his name and the union he founded is of a more socialistic association rather than representing us aboard without compromizing either fighting spirit or principles of American republicanism

    Chavez service was not noteworthy; it did not deserve commendation or special honor. Simply serving is insufficient grounds for ship naming, especially when you look at the long list of Hispanic Americans which made even greater sacrifice honoring their service.

    There is a “perception” that this naming is being done to appease not so much a single important personage but a body electorate as a form of political pandering prior to a major election cycle. While perception is not fact it is often as the adage goes becomes truth.

    “The ability of the Navy to retain the right to name its own ships rests mainly on the skill and ability of those holding the power to so do to realize that if the American people at large are inspired by the names chosen, they will continue to employ in the job the organization that successfully did so. Thus, every ship name is, in essence, a covenantal act between the sea services and the citizens of the Republic, and should be thought of in that light.”

    For me this is the crux of the naming. A ship’s name has importance than simply honoring the dead. It must inspire our sailors to fight on in the face of adversity; it must remind us of the strength our country and the freedoms associated. It should serve as testiment to our heritage and traditions which empowered those that came before us…

    Should the lesson for the seaman upon her deck in time of war serve to show him the solution to opposition is …

    fasting?

    Organizing a strike… ?

    Perhaps a peaceful protest will turn the tide of battle…

    I disagree with their choice; and I can only pray the leadership I once served under can fathom why.

  • Salty Gator

    Mittleschmerz,

    “Unprofessional.” There’s that word again that I can’t stand when applied to the profession of arms. It is evoked to command drone-like obedience at its worst and tacit approval at its worst.

    Being in charge is a lonely profession. Ask any CO when their ship runs aground. Names get dropped. Just like words matter, actions matter. Your name, your honor, your word are all that you have in the end. If you can’t deal with getting called out, maybe you never sat a board.

    This group can be scathing, especially when you go across the street to Salamander’s Front Porch. Deal with it. Is it personal? In cases of honor and integrity it sure is. But then again we live by Core Values. And last time I checked, the only venue to call out non-hackers of our Core Values who are our superiors are blogs.

    Once again: DEAL WITH IT.

  • Salty Gator

    SECDEF Rumsfeld came within a gnat’s whisker of revoking the authority to name ships from SECNAV Winter. I guaran-damn-tee that if he were still SECDEF that authority would have been vaporized from Mabus.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    Salty Gator – your comments cut both ways. Again, I say for potential understanding, there is a manner, way, or tone to disagree. Want to be scathing? Then prepare for return fire. But my experience is that those who are snarkiest, foulest, and issue the most condemnation are completely incapable of taking any criticism of what they say. Even polite criticism.

    I am done with reading outsiders whine, complain, bemoan, besmirch the Navy and the Navy’s leaders in personal attacks.

    Attack the policy. Attack the idea. Attack the decision. Discuss. Debate. Argue. But I will call out over and over and over again those who I see making personal attacks against either the leadership of the Navy OR other posters.

    Words matter. I will stand for principal. I will not be silent.

    Salty – since you tripped up on “unprofessional” I took it out. Oddly enough, nothing really changed in what I was trying to convey.

    Deal with it.

  • sid

    I am done with reading outsiders whine, complain, bemoan, besmirch the Navy and the Navy’s leaders in personal attacks.

    While some of us may not be on watch now, we have been…

    And regardless, outsiders who may have never spent time on a cold (or hot) midwatch have every right to comment on how their taxes are being spent.

    As for pinging on the senior leadership…Sometimes it appears somebody needs to show them the side that still ain’t painted.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    “Comment on how their taxes are being spent” is not necessarily the same as “whine, complain, bemoan, besmirch the Navy and the Navy’s leaders in personal attacks.”

    When you comment – do you want to speak, or do you want to be heard? They are not the same thing.

  • Byron

    So Mr. X sets policy Y which many find abhorent. We are allowed to attack policy Y but not the individual who set the policy?

    Gosh, it’s so clear now.

    Accountability…soon to be removed from your dictionaries.

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    No, Byron. You are allowed to do anything that Admin lets you do.

    I am simply saying that if you choose to attack the individual who sets the policy, then I will weigh in with my opinion and hold that person accountable for their actions to the limits of my ability on a blog.

    You can bemoan the “Accountability…soon to be removed from your dictionaries”, but I counter that civility has been removed from the vocabulary of far too many in the blogoshpere – and that USNI is not the place for the tone so many of you affect.

    Don’t like that? Deal with it.

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    Man, it’s like everyone got Channel Fervor…

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    *Fever

  • Salty Gator

    M. Ittleschmerz:

    Perhaps if you are tired of “outsiders” commenting, USNI is “not your bag, baby?” Unlike SNA (which does draw a TON of its membership and funding from the has-beens), USNI draws ALMOST ALL of its funding and membership from the has-beens.

    I remember when folks were trying to vote to change the mission statement of USNI to “advocacy.” That failed. So, Sorry, M. Ittleschmerz if you are upset that we aren’t properly towing the line, but then again, WE DON’T HAVE TO.

    Deal with that. With a sense of active-duty-still-on-watch-and-the-captain-is-coming-urgency.

  • sid

    MI…

    I agree, but only to an extent.

    Much like any appeal within the lifelines, a code of blog conduct can be engineered with such a high bar to pass that it would be impossible to do anything to get the most bland statements out there.

    While the USNI is an august institution worth of decorum, its not within the lifelines, and until recent years fostered frank discussion about naval matters.

    Many here -including some of your peers- have bemoaned the very obvious loss of the freedom to do so in the print side of this house because of tacit punitive policies that have surfaced since the Tailhook aftermath days.

    But back to the topic at hand.

    Naval Ship naming is a very odious mess of craven patronage.

    Who will take ownership to right the problem?

  • sid

    As for frank talk in naval circle, I would opine it has been skin burning caustic in the past

    Indeed that gent would have made a Navy Times headline for being relieved any number of times from when he was a Lt on.

    (on a totally unrelated side note, I have always wondered if this particular topic had anything to do with the largely undeserved bad rap SE Morison laid on MoH winner Frank Jack Fletcher in his WWII history…)

  • usnkej

    Completely unrelated, but any idea why the US Naval Institute has the headlines as USS when it is USNS? Small thing, but…

  • Brian Hinman

    Cesar Chavez would be quite a good name for a ship, not because he was in the Navy (which he was), but because of the good he did in organizing for those who labored under very miserable conditions before Chavez came along. As far as the guy who wondered who Saul Alinsky was, he was one of the inspirations for our current Commander-in-Chief and one of mine as well. Alinsky showed that the people mattered in a democracy and that voices raised in unison are heard.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “the largely undeserved bad rap SE Morison laid on MoH winner Frank Jack Fletcher in his WWII history”

    Let’s just say that the USMC believed that bad rap richly deserved, long before SE Morrison typed a word.

  • sid

    A good book which gives some different perspective is here.

    (not to say that pulling the carriers that fateful August day was the right thing to do…but…well…read the book)

    back kinda sorta to on topic…

    And I can’t think of any navy flag who had more personal bad things said about him than Fletcher.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    Switchblade & P S Wallace,

    No offense intended – but you are living examples of the historical ignorance WRT “Hispanics” in the Navy. Chavez was in a Navy full of anti-“Hispanic” people? Really?

    I’m going to steal something from Ken from comments at my homeblog.

    How do you explain this?

    Admiral David Farragut (1802-1870).

    Admiral Horacio Rivero, Jr. (1910-2000) – (USNA 31′)First Hispanic four-star and commander of the Atlantic Amphibious forces during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    Need more names?

    Do we really need to do more with Nixon’s “ethnic” group (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/essays/june97/rodriguez_6-18.html
    ) and its exceptional record in its Navy – from its very start?

    Stop trying to make excuses for Seaman Chavez. In is an insult to the Navy and this nation.

  • P.S. Wallace

    You know, I withdraw the comment I made, since obviously 1944 was the halycon days of race relations and my ignorance did not take that into account. see the light. I really do. There is not way–no way in heck–that Seaman Chavez could have run into anybody that was not an angel in Navy blue, or who did not treat him into the utmost respect. And of course, looking back at the original comment I made, since I categorically said he was absolutely 100% in the right, I should have shaded it to be a little on the safe side. Or just condemned him along with the rest of the crowd. I ask repentence for my naval thought crime.

    I’m stupid. You’re smart. All there is to it. Thanks.

  • P.S. Wallace

    Salamander, as an aside–you and some others might think I’m some PC drone or a good little product of the modern educational establishment or just ignorant. I’m not, nor do I care for the diversity crowd. But I will not fight by your side on this issue if I have got to sign some purity oath that says it’s all been berries and cream down the years. So good luck pal, because if people want to act like there ain’t some skeletons in the closet, they are going to get rolled. Big time. Political strength just ain’t there, and won’t be for another generation. So have fun storming the PC castle, boys.

    My apologies to the administrator.

  • sid

    PS I would like to see any evidence that you may have the Mr. Chavez was victimized by any kindof widespread discrimination…

    All I can think of that comes close is that case at the Weapons Station at Port Chicago.

    FWIW PS the USN understood it didn’t pay to act like that

    Racial Theories Waste Manpower

    In modern total warfare any avoidable waste of manpower can only be viewed as material aid to the enemy. Restriction, because of racial theories, of the contribution of any individual to the war effort is a serious waste of human resources.

    The Navy accepts no theories of racial differences in inborn ability, but expects that every man wearing its uniform be trained and used in accordance with his maximum individual capacity determined on the basis of individual performance.

    It is recognized, of course, that Negro performance in Naval training and tasks on the average has not been equal to the average performance of white personnel. Explanation of this difference by resort to some theory of differences in natural endowment, however, leads only to confusion in which the potentialities of individuals become obscured.

    It has been established by experience that individual Negroes vary as widely in native ability as do members of any other race. It is the Navy’s responsibility to develop the potentialities of individuals to the extent that the exigencies of war require and permit.

    Attitudes and Policy

    It is worse than useless to deny or ignore the existence of personal racial preferences and prejudices. Such opinions and attitudes are no more rare among military than among civilian personnel, and must be taken into account just as any other human factor in the conduct of the Naval Establishment.

    This does not mean, however, that such attitudes may be accepted as a controlling factor in the formulation of general policy or in day to day operations. It is encumbent on, and expected of each officer that his attitudes and day to day conduct of affairs reflect a rigid and impartial adherence to Naval regulations, in which no distinction is made between the color of individuals wearing the uniform. This pattern of thought should be passed on by each officer to the enlisted men, both White and Negro, under him.

  • sid

    And don’t forget that “Hispanic” didn’t exist then….

  • P.S. Wallace

    Sid, I’ve already repented of my thought crime. The existence of one Spanish-descent admiral was more than enough evidence for me. I quickly made this conversion because I already knew that the rise of Uriah Levy to his commodoreship back in the antebellum period heralded the end of the anit-Semitism in the United States. And as the United States Navy is a reflection of nation at large, if it no longer existed in the nation it didn’t exist in the Navy. All because someone had flag rank. Q.E.D. I’ve seen the light. Your production of a pamphlet is only icing on the cake, as we all know that procedure on the lowest deck always follows policy. Especially if the chief drinks. Which I understood some back then did.

    As far as old WWII messages and training materials–I love reading them. There’s a good one about liberty restrictions at the museum at Pax. Tells the men what they can’t do while still treating them as men.

  • P.S. Wallace

    As another aside–in regards to my previous post immdediately above, I understand there is some proper spelling and grammar in it. I have yet to find it, though. I’ll let the crowd know if I do.

  • P.S. Wallace

    An additional thought and then a “close”

    As far as the difference between what an officer corps of that era was trying to impose and what could sometimes actually happen at the barracks level–though it is about the Army, and pre-war, I do point everyone to “From Here To Eternity”.

    For my closing statement: This has been a very irritating thread for me, because if someone had said–many posts ago–“Okay, but do you think there is any possibility that Chavez might have also just been a screwup?”, I would have said “sure”. And of course, an additional thought that had came to my mind was that not every veteran of World War II came out of it just loving his time in service–or the service he was in.

    So, to get back to the original reason for this thread–I can think of at least five reasons why Chavez said what he did–found himself in a hostile environment; personally couldn’t hack it (which the principal of “speak not ill of the dead” requires me to not mention again, for it is a slander on a man who cannot defend himself); just didn’t like military life in general but did serve honorably (in which case he is in very good company, “Greatest Generation” wise); or found himself in one of those cases where he fell under some bad leaders who didn’t give a dang about any of their subordinates; or did okay but thought he should have been able to rise higher than he did, and resented the fact that he didn’t. Any and all, pick your choice. Or just hang the man. Whatever floats your boat. But I’ve said my piece, and retire back to my ignorance.

  • Mittleschmerz

    This biography: http://books.google.com/books?id=EUC3UzoltS4C&lpg=PA30&ots=voFv7le6PX&dq=%22cesar%20chavez%22%20%22worst%20years%22%20navy&pg=PA25#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Page 30

    Speaks to the experience. Always seasick. Could only be a painter or deckhand. No chance at advancement.

    Most of us would not look back at that as a pleasant time, either.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    PSW,

    Awww, come on. We don’t have to agree – what good would that do? The point is the discussion – the friction and exchange of perspective and points of view. That is the strength of a comment section in blogs.

    To your point, of course there was racial discrimination – especially back then if you were of sub-Saharan African or Japanese extraction (until the post-war period) — and Jews had a rough time, as did in a fashion Catholics, Irish, 1st Generation Germans with accents, people from Appalachia, etc…etc…etc. The children of those who fought in Tory Militias in the Carolinas in the late 1700s-early 1800s, Gingers, of course, still have issues … sigh. shall we go on? That isn’t the point about naming a ship after him anyway.

    What Chavez may or may not have experienced on a personal level due to his last name was no excuse for his comments about the Navy …. and do not make up for the fact that of all the things we could name a ship after – Chavez shouldn’t be in any serious person’s top 1,000.

  • Rich B.

    Whether or not Chavez may or may not have experienced discrimination during his small period of honorable service is irrelevent to the question at hand.

    If you look at the multiple wickets for naming a ship as set forth in guidance; he does not embody them as a whole as a viable candidate.

  • Hector Lopez

    I am a U.S Military Veteran of both the Army and Navy and my parents were farmworkers and I to worked in the fields. I met Mr. Chavez in 1976, Mr. Chavez came to our house and discuss housing issues in my community of Cabrillo Village. He was a good and honest man and yes I believe a navy ship should be named after him.
    Whether he liked serving in the Navy or not he still did his time and recieved his honorable discharge. Again thank you to all who have served this great nation.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Well now, why do I have the same taste in my mouth as when I was a CD) walking into the crews lounge to break up a Mk 1 brawl along Dept lines?

    Here’s my rule of thumb. Name ships after things, places and persons nautical, extraordinary, and traditional. Coupla reasons…

    Avoids all this hoo haw about a labor organizer and the issues surrounding his and his movement’s rise and legacy, which are utterly un-naval or even maritime.

    Adds to our own private pantheon and keeps the memory of fine old ships alive.

    M. I. I get you don’t get it. But it matters to sailors. Anyway, nothing wrong with heavenly bodies. Noncontroversial. How about moons of our solar system? First choice….Miranda.

    There now, nobody should feel slighted.

    Anything important going on?

  • M. Ittleschmerz

    “M. I. I get you don’t get it. But it matters to sailors. Anyway, nothing wrong with heavenly bodies. Noncontroversial. How about moons of our solar system? First choice….Miranda.”

    Gramps – please go back and reread what I wrote and explain to me where you think that I “don’t get it”. I’ll be waiting.

    Names matter. Which is EXACTLY what I’ve been talking about. Names of ships matter. And the names and epithets thrown at the Navy and Navy’s leadership matter, too. That’s my theme.

    Now, if you want to go further about whether Sailors, especially unionized merchant Sailors, will accept the “USNS Cesar Chavez” name…then I’m not qualified to comment on it. You’d have to ask one of them. But I suspect that like the folks serving on other inspiring ships – Mesa Verde, Oakhill, Thomas S Gates, Whidbey Island and dozens more – those Sailors will adopt that name and make it something new. No matter what political breadcrumbs commenters on a blog will try and lob at them.

  • Bronco46

    I think this is inappropriate! Sorry to rain on this parade; but there are any number of other hispanic hero’s who have fought for this country and in some case died in the process. This country has a long tradition of naming ships after hero’s of the military (the Fletcher, the Sullivan’s, the Nimitz), ship names passed down from other ships that served with distinction ( the Enterprise, the Essex, the Wasp), cities and states (the Michigan, the Iowa, the Los Angeles), and important historical places (the Ticonderoga, Peleliu, Tarawa).
    This naming is a political choice and debases the process. Watch for the launching of this ship to figure prominently in the election campaign of our current occupant of the White House. What mystifies me is; there are hundreds of hispanic hero’s of the United States military that could have been honored in this way. But instead a hispanic union organizer is picked. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

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