bridge for those men. Then, people who would have
wanted to honor those individuals could have done so,
without being assigned to serve in those ships.
The most undesirable naming action by Mr. Mabus
was to honor former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of
Arizona with the LCS 10. She was severely wounded in a
murderous attack in 2011. However, she had no congressional record of special legislation supporting the Navy
or Marine Corps during her brief career in the House of
Representatives, nor had she served in the military. Her
husband, Mark Kelly, is a Navy captain and astronaut.
The report states: “By naming a ship in her honor, Se-
cretary Mabus sought to pay tribute to all 535 members of
Congress — a very select group of elected politicians who
serve and protect our Nation very day. The fact that Re-
presentative Giffords was a Navy spouse simply reinforced
the Secretary’s desire. Finally, and perhaps most important-
ly, it is Secretary Mabus’ conviction that her story and spirit
would inspire all those who sailed on LCS 10.”
Did neither the secretary nor any of the authors of the
report realize that scores of U.S. Navy destroyers, attack
submarines, ballistic missile submarines and aircraft car-
riers have been named for members of Congress and
could thus be considered to be a “tribute to all 535 mem-
bers of Congress?” Mr. Mabus has named two of these
ships for former members of Congress, an aircraft carrier
and a destroyer, to honor John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B.
Johnson, respectively. Both were distinguished solons
who went on to become president of the United States.
To read the report, visit www.seapowermagazine.org and click
on the “U.S. Navy Ship Naming Report” button.
Author and naval analyst Norman Polmar has been a consultant
to several senior officials in the Navy and Department of Defense,
and to the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The
views expressed here are the author’s and not necessarily those of
the Navy League of the United States.