Read the Bills Act Coalition

Monday, June 30, 2008

Can Secretary of Defense Robert Gates make the right decision?

Posted by MAXIMUS

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been a success. Since he took over at DOD, things have definitely turned around in Iraq.

However, Gates now has a problem, a big problem. How so? Read this announcement from the DOD:

Navy Names New Amphibious Assault Ship America

The Navy's newest class of large-deck amphibious assault ship, LHA 6, will bear
the name USS America, Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter announced while speaking at the USS America Carrier Veterans Association reunion in Jacksonville, Fla.

This ship will inherit a proud tradition, explained Winter. From the American
Revolution through the first Gulf War, three warships have sailed with the name
America .

"To serve in a ship named after our country adds to the pride one feels in being part of the Navy, and adds to the feeling that when America pulls into port, there is no more powerful symbol of the power, the ideals, and the greatness of the United States of America," said Winter.

LHA 6 will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name America . The first America, a 74-gun ship-of-the-line, was the first built for use by the Continental Navy. However, before having a chance to serve the fledgling U.S. Navy, the ship was presented as a gift to the king of France to show appreciation for his country's service to the new nation. The second USS America
(ID-3006) was later the name given to a troop transport used during World War I. The third was a Kitty-Hawk class aircraft carrier (CV 66) in commission from 1965 to 1996. Among other notable accomplishments, the carrier America made three deployments to Vietnam and launched air strikes on Iraq during the opening days of Operation Desert Storm.

The newest America will provide presence and power projection as an integral part of joint and multinational maritime expeditionary forces. The ship will
support Marine Corps aviation requirements across a wide spectrum of operations, from small-scale contingency operations as the centerpiece of a forward-deployed expeditionary strike group, to forcible entry missions in a major theater war.

LHA 6 will replace the aging Tarawa-class and represents a conscious decision to increase the aviation capacity of future big deck amphibious ships in order to
maximize the Navy's investment in future aircraft.

LHA 6 will have an extended hangar deck with two higher hangar bay areas, each fitted with an overhead crane for aircraft maintenance. LHA 6 will also provide increased aviation fuel capacity, stowage for aviation parts and support equipment. LHA 6 will be able to embark and launch the MV-22 Osprey
tilt-rotor aircraft, cargo and attack helicopters, the AV-8B Harrier and the
short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) variant F-35B Lightning II Strike

Winter explained the importance of the new America-class amphibious assault ship and the tremendous capability she will bring to the fleet. "USS America is a wise investment in our nation's security," Winter said, "It will be a ship worthy of her illustrious namesake, and it will continue America 's long tradition of peace through strength."

Winter also announced that the sponsor of the ship will be Lynne Pace, wife of former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace. America
is currently under contract at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula ,
Miss. , and is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2012."

I am happy to see the America name will live on in Naval service. However, why did they downgrade the America name by attaching it to an Amphib--a Marine platform--instead of placing the America name on another Carrier where it should be?

Placing the U.S.S. America name on an Amphib after its been on a Aircraft Carrier is like naming your bathroom the Clinton Presidential Library just because you occasionally read a book in there. Secretary Gates, make the right decision and fix this egrigious naming error--ASAP.


The Richmond Democrat said...

Good post about some important symbolism. I for one would like to see an end to the naming of capital ships: carriers, cruisers and nuclear submarines, for politicians or navy secretaries (relax, I'm not suggesting we make the rule retroactive, so there's no need to rename the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan or U.S.S. George H.W. Bush).

I guess I'm just old-fashioned, but I'd like to see the names Yorktown, Hornet, Wasp, Ranger, Bonhomme Richard, Constitution, Constellation, and other historic ship names used for these magnificent vessels that defend us all. It's time to take the politics out of naming capital ships.

ccMAXIMUS said...

If the President did something substantial for the military or if they achieved some sort of historical earth changing event on their watch, I have no problem with naming a carrier after a former President. Let me illustrate it this way, while Jimmy Carter was widely considered to be a failure as President as was viewed as weak on national defense by many R's (me included) naming a Carrier after him would be appropriate because he did work to achieve peace in the Middle East--peace through the presence of might--that is what an Aircraft Carrier is--peace simply through presence. However, I understand your point about the politicization of the names. I do wholeheartedly agree that we should stick to the classical names of the Carriers. When you name a ship after our Country, that better be the biggest, baddest, ass kickingest ship to break waves. In this case, recycling the name America on an Amphib after it was on a carrier is a significant downgrade--due to significantly less delivery of firepower that the amphib delivers when compared to the carrier. That is not to besmirch the ambphib's capabilities or those of the Marine Corps, but this is just a wrong headed move to make. The name U.S.S. America, from here on out must only be reserved for Carriers or a future equivilant.