Secretary Ray Mabus
, under fire from Congress
and veterans for naming ships after fellow Democrats and social activists, plans to announce another round of ship names in the near future that will be more traditional, a Pentagon
official tells The Washington Times.
The official said Mr. Mabus
has chosen names for five surface ships - three for war heroes and two for locations. Ships typically are named after states and cities.
“I think they would be more consistent with what most people would say traditions and naming conventions are,” the official said.
Asked whether this was a response to criticism, the official said: “It isn’t. I think if you look at these five additional ships, I think you’ll see examples that are very traditional.” The official said three ships would be named after highly decorated Navy
or Marine Corps
, a former Mississippi governor, broke with Navy
conventions in the past three years when he named an amphibious ship, two cargo ships and a littoral combat ship after two social activists and two fellow Democrats.
’s ship-naming process remains the subject of criticism based on several recent decisions,” Rep. Duncan Hunter
, California Republican, wrote to Mr. Mabus
on Tuesday. He said there are still opportunities “for the Navy
to show its intent to uphold the integrity and tradition of this process.”
, who fought in Afghanistan
as a Marine Corps
officer, renewed his recommendation that the Navy
name a ship after a war hero, the late Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta
received the Navy
Cross for valor in smothering the blast of a grenade with his body during a 2004 raid in Fallujah, Iraq
‘ 2012 budget bill urged the Navy
to name a ship after him.
For years, Congress
has taken a keen interest in ship-naming, an honor that travels in deployments around the world and sometimes into battle. The power to name ships resides solely with the Navy
“There have been exceptions to the Navy
’s ship-naming rules, particularly for the purpose of naming a ship for a person when the rule for that type of ship would have called for it to be named for something else,” according to a Congressional Research Service
report in March.
“Some observers in recent years have perceived a breakdown in, or corruption of, the rules for naming Navy
Lawmakers have begun to closely monitor Mr. Mabus
‘ choice of names.
In December, senators added language to the defense budget bill that directs the defense secretary to submit a report to Congress
on the process it uses for naming ships. The bill asks whether the Navy
has detoured from historical practices and, if so, why.
“There have been a number of controversial ship-namings recently, and one way to deal with that is to have more input and to think more clearly about who we are going to name Navy
vessels after,” said Sen. Roy Blunt
, Missouri Republican.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Mabus
defended his selections.
“The secretary of the Navy
’s office receives hundreds of letters and suggestions each year from citizens, military retirees, members of Congress
, industry and others recommending names for U.S. Navy ships,” Capt. Pamela Kunze said.
appreciates the interest of all who participate in the ship-naming process, and all inputs are given careful consideration. Naming ships after people or places which represent the American spirit or the tremendous dedication and sacrifice made by those in and out of uniform is an honor and a privilege which is taken very seriously.
“Throughout the 200 years secretaries of the Navy
have been naming ships, there have always been exceptions to naming conventions for various ship classes. Generally speaking, names are chosen to honor individuals who have displayed uncommon commitment, service or courage, or to recognize geographic locations or traits representative of American values.”
has drawn criticism in the namings of three ships.