After the somewhat disastrous naming of the USS GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, the Navy is on the right track with the latest round of names released:
The three latest destroyers will be named for Navy and Marine Corps heroes from Pearl Harbor, Vietnam and the Iraq war, the Navy announced in a statement Wednesday.
The announcement also included the names for the two latest littoral combat ships.
The destroyer names are:
• John Finn, the then-chief petty officer who manned a machine gun during the Pearl Harbor attack. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery. He retired as a lieutenant and died in 2010 at age 100.
• Ralph Johnson, the Marine private first class who hurled himself onto an explosive in Vietnam, saving a life and preventing a breach of a patrol’s perimeter. Johnson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
• Rafael Peralta, the Marine staff sergeant who shielded fellow Marines from a grenade with his own body in Iraq. Peralta was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
The two littoral combat ships will be named for two Midwestern U.S. cities that are roughly 100 miles apart.
• Sioux City, for the city in western Iowa.
• Omaha, for the city in eastern Nebraska.
There’s some conspiracy-theories running around that the names are just damage-control over the GIFFORDS controversy, and while I think it’s possible that the choice to announce these names might have been motivated by PR concerns, I’m sure the names themselves have been in the works for months and years. So 6 new ship names in a week, and 5 of 6 were well thought out and in keeping with tradition. That first one still stings a bit though.