It’s time to return some sanity to the way ships are named.  Why?  Because the silliness is upon us once again:

1st Session
H. CON. RES. 83
Expressing the sense of Congress that a nuclear-powered aircraft
carrier of the Navy, either the aircraft carrier designated as CVN-79
or the aircraft carrier designated as CVN-80, should be named the
U.S.S. Barry M. Goldwater.
Bill information and status here

The nonsense began with CVN-70  and reached the height of historical blindness with the Truman (honestly, naming a carrier for a president who tried his hardest to kill naval aviation and oversaw the death of the United States (CVA-58) in favor of the B-36).  Why not Enterprise (CVN-65 isn’t long for this world)?  Coral Sea?  Yorktown? Hornet? Midway? Enough with the politicians – these ships are going to last to the middle of the century and outlive many of us reading these words.  Why not go back to naming the carriers after famous battles and reclaim some of our heritage and linkage with notable CVs from the past?  And, BTW, what better way to celebrate naval aviation’s upcoming centenary?

And yes, I’m familiar with Rickover’s quote – how about standing firm this time anyway?

(h/t: SB)

UPDATE:  Here’s the text of the petition – should be available online w/in the next 24-hours.

Whereas the namesake ENTERPRISE has been proudly borne by two combat aircraft carriers of the United States Navy;
Whereas the first USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) (seventh ship to bear this name) and her embarked airwing and crew gallantly fought in every major battle in the Pacific during World War Two, including the signatory battle at Midway when vastly outnumbered by the ships and planes of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, ENTERPRISE, with YORKTOWN and HORNET struck a mortal blow, sinking four enemy aircraft carriers and turning the tide of the war in the Pacific;
Whereas the same ENTERPRISE concluded that war as the most decorated warship in the United States Navy with 20 battle stars, a Presidential Unit Citation, a British Admiralty Pennant, Navy Unit Commendation, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and Task Force 16 Citation among many other accolades;
Whereas the second United States Navy aircraft carrier to be named ENTERPRISE (CVAN/CVN-65) was the first such ship of her class in the world to be nuclear powered;
Whereas that ENTERPRISE, the eighth ship to bear that name in the United States Navy is concluding a half-century of service to this nation and has honorably served in every theater of operations from leading the naval quarantine off Cuba in 1962 to conducting the first strikes following the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11th, 2001;

Be It Resolved
That the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed (CVN-79) should bear the name USS ENTERPRISE in recognition and honor of the fighting men and women of the United States navy who have sailed in her namesakes through the centuries.

We The Undersigned:
Call upon the Congress of the United States to remand H. CON. RES. 83 and replace it with a resolution supporting the naming of CVN-79 or the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed, the USS ENTERPRISE.
Call upon the Secretary of the Navy to support this petition of the tax-paying people of these United States and name the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed the USS ENTERPRISE

UPDATE 2: Here is the petition


  1. Campariman

    USS Thomas Jefferson, USS (John) Adams would be great names before re-starting with Enterprise, Ranger, Saratoga, etc. Ben Franklin should also be honored again.

  2. ManlyDad

    Yes, stop naming capital ships after presidents. We need to anticipate–start now to prevent a USS Bill Clinton or USS Barack Obama. Depending on the party in power, it’s possible.

  3. Actually, I brook no argument with naming boomers after famous *statesmen* like the first Polaris boats were. May be they could alternate between statesmen and states since we don’t do BB’s anymore. Just like I’d prefer to see SSNs returned to being named after fish (how about the return of the storied Parche?) and cruisers after cities. Just stop already with the politicians and CVNs. Want a Goldwater (and I really don’t see why…)? You’ll get a Clinton as part of the deal, just like you got Truman with Reagan… In 2045, how well known will Goldwater be? Conversely, Enterprise is enduring…
    – SJS

  4. andrewdb

    I like Goldwater as much as anyone (more than most, actually), but wasn’t he an AIR FORCE reserve general?

    I fear this is just more of the “let’s name everything after Ronald Reagan” school of thought (I like him a lot, too), but we already have a CVN named after RR, so BG is the next best thing.

    At least he’s already dead.

  5. andrewdb

    PS – the link takes me to a proposed constitutional amendment making health care a right for all US citizens. That’s even worse than the CVN naming stuff.

  6. Nathan

    This kind of silly naming urges is why God gave us destroyers. Leave the leviathans for battles and past carriers worthy of such renown; surely no one man warrants having one-hundred thousand tonnes and a five-thousand crew dedicated in their name.

  7. Byron

    Complete agreement! We should start a campaign to petition Congress in order to name the next CVN Enterprise, afer the most decorated carrier in WW2! Later today, I plan to email Sen. McCain and express my opinion.

  8. One man’s hero is another man’s goat. Carriers should be named for things we all have in common, not the party in power’s favorite politician. I vote we go back to the traditional carrier names as a reminder of the great ships and men who held the line when the chips were down and the odds were against us. Those names are a tribute to America’s greatness. Politicians? Not so much.

  9. 45 years from now, Enterprise will still mean something to a generation yet to be born. Goldwater? Vinson? Clinton? – not so… Contemplating the petition drive too…
    – SJS

  10. Yep – and that’s more salt in the wounds (like Truman was)…may as well name one “Mitchell” for that matter.
    – SJS

  11. steve

    Amen. Ditto for submarines, etc.

  12. Standby all — there is a FOSJS (Friend of Steeljawscribe) coming aboard with a petition drive – more to follow soon
    – SJS

  13. This makes me think that somehow, the politicians, who have control over all of this, have come to believe they are the highest form of something needing recognition. While standing to say “YES!” for each new craft named for a pol, they project thier opportunity to one day have one named for them.

    Most peole know about CVs…the other ships…well, they are just ther to support the CVs (strategically, ok, just sucks when it comes to getting those names remebered).

    Politicians have ensconced themselves in all manner of live, and IMHO, think they have done something to deserve this. No, I think the humble one would take their plaques and letters and refuse to have such an honor, telling others to not do it in thier name, but in the name of something, as suggested above, is for us all.

  14. Byron

    SIERA HOTE!!! I’ll be begging everyone I can think of to sign the petition!

  15. Without the perssistence of Wade McClusky in taking his dive bombers beyond their point of no retun the Enterprise would have been at the bottom of the sea along with the Yorktown, Hornet and most of their escorts. There would have been no survivors for there would have been no Midway PBYs to pick them up. The magnitude of the debt the United States owes to Wade McClusky has never been recognized. This new CVN offers an opportunity.

  16. Byron

    I’m seeing quite a few folks from a gaming site I’ve been a member of for 7 years, and a Harpoon mailing list I’ve been admin on for 10 years. And CAPT. Lex has put it up on his site too!!!

  17. Now if he can get Guy K to evangelize this…hmmm…think of the possibilities!

  18. Jack

    I’ve put this out to all my navy buddies on facebook…..goldwater????? jeez

  19. Be sure to get Constellation back in the rotation too — at the top of the list as far as I’m concerned.

    As long as there’s a USN there should be a USS Constitution and USS Constellation under construction or in commission.

  20. Emilio

    If he had accepted Lincoln’s offer, I would also have loved a USS Giuseppe Garibaldi…

  21. alvin kernan

    as a veteran of the enterprise at the battle of midway, i vote for the uss mcclusky, the ceag who won the battle and has never had a major warship named after him

  22. Mar

    Let’s leave all people’s names, political parties, etc. out of the naming of one of our country’s greatest peace-keeping asset. People’s names belong on letterheads, business cards, etc. and not on military machinery.

  23. Brad

    You guys should all be commended for seeking to return carrier naming to its historical methods. I think it is too soon for Enterprise, but, Star Trek kept repeating them over and over, so why not have the carrier tradition continue. I guess I also like: Langley, Hornet, Yorktown, Lexington, Midway, Coral Sea, Oriskany, Essex. But, George W did a lot for this country after 9-11 and it would be nice to have a carrier in his honor. CVN-79, USS George W. Bush; CVN-80 USS Langley.

  24. Hi there,

    I’m looking to maybe interview someone for a radio item on BBC World Service radio about carrier naming.

    I’m on +44 207 557 2199

    Paul Coletti
    BBC Radio

  25. LKG

    Great blog on an important topic – v.interesting perspective. Email me please!

  26. wesley

    Brazilian navy own, unfortunate own scarcely two aerodromo-ship, own scarcely operation is (NA-12 São Paulo).

  27. I think they should be named after old carriers or Naval officers like John Paul Jones, Halsey, Decatur famous naval battles would also be nice thank you

  28. Harry.W

    USS Constitution CVN-80,USS Lexington CVN-79,

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