Judson Phillips, writing for Tea Party Nation about how the US Navy could just as well name the cargo ship the “USS Karl Marx.”
Actually, the US Navy is upholding tradition. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune: “Over the past decade, NASSCO has been building dry cargo ships for use by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. All of the ships are named after explorers or people who were pioneers in their fields. The names of the other 13 ships are: Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea, Alan Shepard, Richard E. Byrd, Robert E. Peary, Amelia Earhart, Carl Brashear, Wally Schirra, Matthew Perry, Charles Drew, Washington Chambers, William McLean, Medgar Evers.
The newest vessel in this line will be the first to be named after a Mexican-American.”
For those of you who don’t know, César Chávez co-founded the United Farm Workers union and was a pioneer of the labor movement.
Update, 9:00 p.m. MST:
quetzalcoatlhadanafro said: A few of my Mexi-American friends disagree with this on the basis that Chavez was a pacifist. It’s a step up from naming streets after him… but they may have a point (though I have to look into it more myself).
That’s a really good point. The ship is a cargo ship, staffed mainly by civilians. This gives it the designation of a USNS versus USS. Some good news about the ship: “The primary goal of the program is to provide effective fleet underway replenishment capability at the lowest life cycle cost. Built to commercial standards, T-AKEs [the technical name of the ship’s class] take advantage of industry best practices and can be cost-effectively maintained using commercial, off-the-shelf technology. T-AKEs have built-in environmental protections such as industry-leading ‘green’ waste-management facilities that decrease pollutants by 95 percent.”
And the not-so-great news: Even though the mission of these ships is to provide underway replenishment, the mission of the last three ships “will be to provide selective offload of cargo for resupply and sustainment of U.S. Marine Corps forces ashore.” So there’s a chance this new ship could be supporting combat operations overseas. I still feel it’s honoring a pioneer, but Chávez was a pacifist, so I’m not sure how much of an honor it really is - though the family will attend the dedication of the ship’s hull. Thanks for bringing up another perspective!