“It’s pretty dire,” said John Howland, a 1964 U.S. Naval Academy graduate who manages a web site on naval issues called USNA-At-Large.Would it be petty to state that Rowan should have CDRSalamander on his RSS feed? Yes, but I'll do it anyway.
... “The leadership of the military is pretty much politically correct kind of stuff. You like to think that we’re approaching hitting bottom, but these people are not through with us yet.”
“Mabus is an unequivocal disaster,” Mr. Howland said.
“His service was difficult, because Cesar Chavez faced a segregated Navy, but that challenge like others he faced in his life, helped forge the leader he became,” he said at the naming ceremony in San Diego May 18.
“His example blazed a path for subsequent generations. His example will live through this ship. He will continue to inspire young Americans to do what is right.”
Mr. Chavez was a champion of better working conditions for farm laborers. He enlisted in the Navy in 1946 at age 17. He later called it “the worst two years of my life,” according to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, who saw action in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine officer, believes Mr. Mabus made a political decision.
“This decision shows the direction the Navy is heading,” said Mr. Hunter.
“Naming a ship after Cesar Chavez goes right along with other recent decisions by the Navy that appear to be more about making a political statement than upholding the Navys history and tradition.”
Last week, Mr. Hunter introduced legislation directing the Navy to name the next available ship after Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta. Sgt. Peralta was killed when he fell on a grenade during combat in Fallujah, Iraq, and was awarded the Navy Cross.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Mabus did not return a reporter’s phone messages.
The Chavez was the second Lewis-and-Clark class cargo ship that Mr. Mabus named after a civil rights leader.
In 2009, Mr. Mabus announced a ship would be named after Medgar Evers, the Mississippi civil rights activist who was shot and killed in the drive way of his home in 1963. Mr. Evers had no professional connection to the Navy. He served two years of combat in Europe in World War II and was honorably discharged an Army sergeant.
Before the Chavez and Evers namings, most of the other 12 Lewis-and-Clark ships were named after Navy pioneers. They include retired admiral and astronaut Alan Shepard and Arctic explorer Adm. Robert E. Peary. One ship is named the USS Carl Brashear, after the Navy’s first black master diver.
There are four exceptions: the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who were commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson; their guide, Sacajawea; aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart; Dr. Charles Drew, who developed a system of life-saving blood banks during World War II.
Hat tip Mike.