BOSTON (NNS) — Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the next Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier will be named the USS John F. Kennedy.
The selection John F. Kennedy, designated CVN 79, honors the 35th President of the United States and pays tribute to his service in the Navy, in the government, and to the nation.

“President John F. Kennedy exemplified the meaning of service, not just to country, but service to all humanity,” said Mabus. “I am honored to have the opportunity to name the next aircraft carrier after this great Sailor and inspirational leader, and to keep the rich tradition and history of USS John F. Kennedy sailing in the U.S. Fleet.”

Well, guess that explains why no response from SECNAV to our petition submitted to name the next CVN “Enterprise.” Going to start a new one and add the signatures from the previous one. This fight’s not over. – SJS

Posted by SteelJaw in Aviation, History, Navy

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  • Diogenes of NJ

    Be grateful Mabus didn’t name it after Ernesto Che Guevara.

    – Kyon

  • Spade

    USS Ranger
    USS Hornet (that “the F/A-18 carries on the name” crap is crap)
    USS Saratoga
    USS Yorktown
    USS Langley
    USS Lexington
    USS St. Lo
    USS Midway
    USS Ticonderoga (class is still in commission, she’s not)
    USS Intrepid
    USS Oriskany

    I could do this all damn day.
    And that’s just the carriers.

  • Redeye80

    Again SecNav Mabus has played to the politicial winds. I am sure he needs to network for his next job. Can’t wait for the man to leave.

  • KenofSoCal

    I sorry 2000 plus signatures and a healthy facebook following makes NO impression on the SECNAV. It could have been worse:
    USS Lyndon B. Johnson.

    CVN 80 USS Enterprise. Period.
    Hats off to SJS,et al. for their efforts.

  • Jay

    So, the only Cold War Presidents without ships named after them will be Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon…interesting…

  • GIMP

    Jay, we could cover both by naming it the USS GULF OF TONKIN – WATERGATE. Clearly, being a huge liar is no disqualifier for the presidency, but maybe getting caught in huge lies as a president is a disqualifier for getting a carrier named after you. Finding out they were huge liars after the fact doesn’t count. We’d never be able to name a ship after a president if the bar were set there.

  • P.S. Wallace

    I think in the shipbuilding plans we just need to start provisionally naming them as “USS Republican Politician X” and “USS Democrat Politician X”, right after the assigned hull numbers, with the name to be filled in later.

    Because the entire purpose of the American experiment, of course, is to make the political establishment happy. And so we will. The spirits of those who fought in historic ships in times past need to realize that while they may have done noble service, they never met the real test of greatness. They never got elected.

  • P.S. Wallace

    Incidentally, if it had to be a “USS Dead President”, then it should have been the “USS John Adams”. John Adams–the man most responsible for the drive to Independence in 1776, the man who helped push for the Naval Act of 1794, the man who wrote the first “Rocks and Shoals”, the man for whom two frigates of the early Navy were named (at the same time), and the man the Founding Generation thought was second only to Washington and Franklin.

  • MikeS

    I think we need to go back to naming the carriers after naval battles there have been plenty of them to choose from… and it shouldn’t matter whether we won them or lost them…. many American sailors still died during most all them… politicians, short of winning the CMH or DSC probably don’t deserve a namesake anyway… though I am a fan of John Adams!!!! we should use people names for supply (excluding Chavez), frigates and destroyers not capital ships…. and maybe attack subs… and selections should be carefully chosen as to not insult the ship… such as the recent “Chavez” choice…

  • MikeS

    OH!!!! U.S.S. Enterprise is perfectly acceptable as would be any of Spade’s choices listed above!!!!

  • P.S. Wallace

    As my final comment for the moment—A Modest Proposal:

    In light of the possible increased overt politicization regarding naming things (felt to be done mainly to give legitimacy for immediately partisan causes/groups, though, true, seen before in American history–Fort Lee, Fort Washington, USS Adams, etc.; a heritage left over from the days of naming things after patrons/royalty–Virginia, Georgia, New York, Maryland, Sandwich Islands, William and Mary College, etc.), I propose the following: that every year or two, a plebiscite be held as part of whatever Federal election is occuring. The proposed names of ships will be listed for approval by the people. If a majority of those voting vote “no” on that name, it will be rejected, and will be unable to be proposed for a USS/USNS ship for a period of 10 years after said plebiscite. This will serve to ensure that objects of national unity have national support for their names.

    As a safeguard against small interest groups bum-rushing the process (something seen in states such as California), no referendums on proposed names that come directly from the populace will be allowed–the names will still initially come from the appropriate responsible agency. Thus, like the role of the Senate, the people will advise and consent, but not propose. Moral suasion and the process of electoral approval/disapproval will serve to get the names the people as a mass want, and will serve best to reflect the true national spirit. (Which may be at divergence with the naval spirit, which would also be useful to know.)

  • Nick

    While I have nothing against having a USS John F. Kennedy in the Fleet, I must confess how disappointed I am that the name ENTERPRISE will how not have a home until CVN-80, and that’s assuming that the SECNAV at the time chooses to name her that! I just hope to God that CVN-80 isn’t named the BILL CLINTON or GEORGE W. BUSH.

    When CVN-65 is decommissioned, the United States Navy will be without an ENTERPRISE since 1936. Before anyone corrects me, I know that CV-6 was decommissioned back in 1947, but she wasn’t scrapped till 1959 and when they did we already were building CVN-65.

    We want our Navy warships to reflect the proud heritage of our Navy and America. Enterprise, Lexington, Saratoga, Hornet, Yorktown, Ranger- these are the names that should be gracing our capital ships.

  • P.S. Wallace

    Okay, my really final comment–in response to Mike S. above, he is absolutely right about battles not having to have been won to be honored. The Founding Generation and the ones that came immediately after knew this–that sometimes it was as important to be willing to stand up and fight as it was to win. That is why the names “Lexington” and “Bunker Hill” ring in our history, though both were losses (with Lexington being nothing more than a rout). Defeats, yes. But those generations felt that as long as Americans were willing to stand and fight, no matter the odds, that in the long run our liberty would be secured. That it doesn’t matter if you can’t necessarily win right away. What matters is if you choose to fight.

    It is also the reason “The Star Spangled Banner” became the unofficial national anthem long before it became the official one–it is a song about the underdog winning when he shouldn’t have, of him staying in the battle just because he felt the war worth fighting, even though he was outnumbered.

    As a nation, we knew all these things, once upon a time. The principle of defiance despite adversity.

  • If supercarriers are to be “President Class” vessels I would suggest a followup to CVB-42:

    From the New York Post, April 16, 1945:

    Washington, Apr. 16 —- Following are the latest casualties in the military services, including next of kin.


    Roosevelt, Franklin D., Commander-in-Chief, wife Mrs. Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, The White House.

    — quoted in “The Glory and The Dream” by William Manchester

  • Paul P

    Seconding Moe’s suggestion.

    The passage from Manchester’s book, starting with the setting of the scene in Warm Springs, GA still brings tears to my eyes. Whether you love or hate FDR, it can be said that he did give his last true measure of devotion to this country as it’s President during WWII.

    Personally– I am in favor of the following to cut out the politics:

    Carriers– former carrier names of the United States (go with Spade’s list)

    LHA/LHD– Battles not included above

    DDG– Famous naval personalities

    LCS– code names of famous operations (Overlord, Dragoon, Husky, etc, etc.)

    SSN– states, in order (no repeats until all have been named once)

    SSBN/SSGN– President’s

    What should be prohibited is the naming of any capital warship for a politician other than President. To equate a senator with a President doesn’t work. The President is Commander in Chief, period. A senator doesn’t have a direct role in sending young men and women into harm’s way but a President does. They shouldn’t be honored as equals no matter how much the senator in question was a “friend of the navy.”

  • Paul P

    Or, in a more humorous method….

    Carriers- politicians who wish to be honored, whether living or dead, by the party in power and who can deliver electoral votes in the next presidential election.

    LHA/LHD’s– naming rights given to industries who spend the most $$$ in a district of the party in power as chosen by the Speaker of the House (USS General Dynamics, USS Colt, USS Catepillar, etc. )

    DDG’s– Named for obscure politicians who managed to stay out of trouble for most of their term in office and movie celebrities with some connection to the Navy or Marine Corps (USS Tom Cruise, USS Governator, USS Sean Connery, USS Russell Crowe, USS Samuel L. Jackson, USS Bruce Willis, etc, etc)

    LCS– martial sounding patriotic names (USS Firebrand, USS Deliverance, USS Cowboy, etc, etc)

    SSN– named for cities who voted predominately for the party in power in the last election cycle. Must have at least 75% of the vote to qualify.

    SSBN/SSGN– restricted only to the USS North Carolina, USS Virginia, USS California, USS Texas, USS New York or USS Tennessee. If there are more ships than names, then only states with three or more ships named after them can be in contention.

  • Why can’t we have a USS America, Midway, or even USS Cowpens?

  • xrlw1a

    PCU America LHA 6. USS Cowpens CG 63

  • w2lucky

    @Matt – there is a Cowpens. It’s a CG. After serving 22 years in the Navy and serving on Leftwich (named after a Vietnam hero), Oldendorf (named after a great WW2 Navy man – Jesse), and the John C Stennis (named after a Mississippi Senator), I found that the name of the person on the hull does make a difference to those assigned to serve that ship. Our ships should be named after great Americans, battles we fought honorably, one of our great states or cities, or replace an honorable fighting ship that has been decommmissioned. This greatness should not be determined by politicians that have been bought and paid for, but by the people or by the Navy. While the Stennis was a great ship to serve on, Stennis’s history of racism made it tough to swallow. He was no hero, just someone who got elected from Mississippi too many times to the Senate. That ship was clearly named after him via his political connections. 99 out of 100 Americans have no idea who Stennis is and his name does not put fear in the heart of the enemy. Our joke on the ship was that JCS meant – Just Clean Something. The Ranger, The Enterprise, and The Benjamin Franklin probably would put fear in an enemy. Go Navy!

  • w2lucky

    Oh, and lets not forget the primary mission of an aircraft carrier is power projection. The name should reflect the ship’s mission.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Beg pardon, SSBN’s – States. Names of BB’s which participated in victorious battle given pride of place.

    SSN’s: Killers of the deep. Pride of place given to names of ships with superior records in WW2 and superior records in Cold War (not necessarily the same hull, special extra credit to ships which were commendable in both). So Tunny, Parche, Torsk, Tang, Wahoo, Gudgeon, Seawolf, Flasher, Harder, Barb, any of the hot running Guppies or Skate/Skipjack/Sturgeon SSN’s with PUC, NUC.

    Heritage matters. A lot.

  • Old Squid

    Che Guevarra’s nephew is in the US Navy. Che was dead before he was born. His dad knew him a bit.
    There are thousands of former JFK sailors that loved the ship and are very happy another CV will carry the name. Myself and many served 3 tours and many served more.
    Lexington was a rout? That was a very long and bloody march back to Boston for the Brit’s. Who held Lexington? Who lost the most men?
    How about a USS Denmark? The biggest 4th of July celebration outside the US is held yearly in Rebilt, in our honor. Plus, the Brits marched in in ’45, not us.

  • SaltyDog

    Kennedy is fine, but next one should be Enterprise or Lexington.

  • Paul

    On a more serious note– naming LHA/LHD’s for other famous capital ships seems to be the best way to go. States for submarines, military heroes for destroyers, and only presidents can have a carrier named after them– no more senators, or other connected folks. No matter what political party they may be, it takes a lot of commitment to become the President, and no other politician should be in the same class. A senator isn’t in the chain of command– leave them and others out.

  • Dan Rush

    My great uncle John Doherty flew with VB-6 Black Rams off CV-6 and was killed in the Marshalls in 1942.

    Damn right there should be another Enterprise, it will be a sad day to watch from my house as they tow Big E 65 up to Bremerton to be cut to bits. She was a great warrior crewed by great men…

    Yes…I said MEN not SPLIT TAILS!

  • Don Breedlove

    Well I see the old names being used in order Langley,Saratoga,Intrepid and even Enterprise off the names of Presidents unless US naval Veterans

  • mike

    i understand the jfk is in better shape than the Saratoga or even the forrestal.i know opinions are like ******** everybody has one . mine is that there was more historical sugnifigance to the Saratoga and forrestal than the kennedy. they were the first two “super carriers” both with alot of naval history far more than the kennedy which i think was chosen to be the meusem only because of its name John f kennedy. sad very sad

  • Byron

    Having worked on all three carriers I will tell you that the JFK was a floating scrap yard, Forrestal was in decent shape and for the life of me never understood why Saratoga was decom’d. Of course, this is the shipfitter talking, so maybe I’m wrong.

  • Jeremy

    CVN-80 I agree should be USS Enterprise CVN-81 USS JOHN Adams CVN-82 USS Lexington or I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Arizona. I believe names should be Honorable, meaningful,…..

  • GeorgeEmily Skinner

    I’ll never forget working one night on the bridge on a tin can many years ago in the I.O. when a Soviet warship sent a flashing light message to us asking where Kitty Hawk was – the on the ball skipper had the signalman reply ” In North Carolina”.

  • OfficialTron117

    The next Carrier after USS Enterprise CNV-80 should be USS Lexington CVN-81! That would be the perfect name, not only does it honor a important battle in american history, but it also honors the USS Lexington CV-16 “The Blue Ghost”. It is the longest serving Navy ship in american history!

  • usmc 74

    How about medal of honor winners