I honestly don’t know how to write this without getting myself into trouble, and I’m dumbfounded.
I was catching up with the Navy Times online when I saw something that made my jaw drop;
The Navy’s 10th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock will be named for Rep. John Murtha, the long-serving Pennsylvania Democrat who chaired the powerful House appropriations defense subcommittee before he died in February.
According to a Navy memorandum obtained by Navy Times, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus notified Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead that he had selected “John P. Murtha” for the previously unnamed LPD 26. It’s the latest example of the Navy breaking a convention for naming its warships; the previous ships in the San Antonio class have been named for American cities.
Capt. Beci Brenton, a spokeswoman for Mabus, who is traveling on the West Coast, said she had no comment on the memo.
Now, I don’t know what all John Murtha did for the military prior to November 2005, and frankly I don’t care. It was all erased when he assumed guilt for Marines in combat in Iraq before they could even be brought to trial;
The late Rep. John Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, has achieved his highest undeserved honor. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has decided to name the Navy’s newest San Antonio Class amphibious transport-dock LPD 26 the USS John P. Murtha. This is a slap in the face to every service member who bridled when Murtha publicly accused Marines in Iraq of intentionally killing women and children in cold blood.
Murtha made his views known after details emerged about a firefight in Haditha in November 2005 in which 24 Iraqis were killed. Murtha accused the Marines of engaging in premeditated murder and agreed with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that this was “exactly” like the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam. Charges later were brought against eight Marines but have since been dropped against all but one. However, Murtha’s theatrical rush to judgment still rankles Americans in uniform, whose views on the congressman range from disappointment to the belief that he gave aid and comfort to the enemy.
An LPD or Landing Platform Dock is a ship designed to carry Marine combat forces into battle. Specifically the LPD-26 is to be a San Antonio class ship which carries both air cushion and conventional landing craft, and over 700 Marines.
Marines who I doubt will easily forget what the ship’s namesake did in the name of politics.
“This dishonors every Marine who will serve aboard that ship,” a Navy officer told The Washington Times. “And it sends a poor message to the acquisition community that politicians can have ships named after them just for sending pork back to their districts.” Milblogger “CDR Salamander,” who served in the Navy for 21 years, told us this was “a naked political move” and “nothing about this man will be inspiring to the crew assigned to the ship.”
CDR Salamander writes more here and includes videos to jog your memory.
I have to imagine SecNav had to have a shot of good whiskey before issuing the memo to name LPD-26, at least I hope so. I’d hate to think he enjoyed the thought;
The idea to name the ship after Murtha probably did not originate with the Navy secretary. Some speculate that this is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s parting salute to one of her loyal hatchet men. San Antonio Class vessels traditionally are named after cities, and this is the first such ship to be named after a person. Because this recommendation breaks protocol and tradition, the Navy Department should release the documents that pinpoint its origins and the process by which it was decided.
It’s doubtful that the ship naming will do much to honor Murtha. The brave Marines and sailors who serve aboard this vessel probably will refer to it only as LPD 26 or come up with a colorful nickname like “Porky Pig” or the “Fat Bastard” (the Marine favorite). Perhaps Murtha could still be useful in supplying the ship’s slogan: “Cold Blooded Killers.”
The only way I can effectively process this is to tell myself it’s all Pelosi’s idea. The left has to have its war heroes too and John Kerry wasn’t working out so well for them, John Kennedy was a tax cutter, and all that’s left is Murtha?
USS Revulsion is the only name that sticks in my head after hearing all this, so for me, it’s the USS LPD-26.
Fair winds and following seas.