Navy to name a ship the USS Harvey Milk?

Navy Times reports:

An upcoming addition to the Navy’s fleet may be the USS Harvey Milk if Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., and other San Diego gay rights leaders have their way about it.

The GLBT Historic Task Force of San Diego County and Filner sent letters to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week asking for Harvey Milk to be considered as a name for a submarine, carrier or other appropriate vessel, according to a PR Newswire press release.

Milk, a late civil rights icon, was a Navy veteran who served aboard the submarine rescue ship Kittiwake as a diving officer during the Korean War. He went on to be a diving instructor at Naval Station San Diego. Milk, whose parents both also served in the Navy, was honorably discharged at the rank of lieutenant junior grade.


The request comes after a series of controversial namings, such as the littoral combat ship Gabrielle Giffords or destroyer Lyndon B. Johnson, that have caused Congress to ask Mabus for a report due in June detailing the process that Navy uses to name ships.

Navy Times leaves out two other recent ship-naming controversies: Cesar Chavez and John Murtha. I don’t remember any LBJ controversy other than some Democrats upset that it was just a destroyer and not a carrier.

I think the USS Milk, if it were to be named that, would continue the over-politicization of naming ships that has been happening during the Obama administration. Of all the ones Navy Times listed above as controversial, LBJ has the best case for it as a veteran who was Commander-in-Chief during wartime.

I don’t think any of the others should have ships named for them at all, but at least Murtha, Chavez, and Milk served in the military. I can’t find anything in her legislative record that would justify naming a ship for Giffords as a non-vet.

I do think the naming of any ships that could prove to be controversial like these should be put on hold until the report mentioned in the story above is released.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is a native South Carolinian who moved to the Baltimore area in 2006. He has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. His work experience includes radio news reporting, web design for government agencies at the state and federal level, and working in social media and communications for a DC public policy organization. Quinton is a military veteran of the Army National Guard (where he served as an intelligence analyst)a nd an Eagle Scout.