The Navy will name a research ship the Neil Armstrong. In fact, the entire class of Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research ships will now be called Armstrong-class vessels.
Armstrong, the Ohio native who died in August, will always be known as the first man to walk on the moon. But he was a Navy aviator first, with 78 combat missions from the aircraft carrier Essex. Then he turned to science and to space.
The 238-foot ship, currently being built, will be a research platform capable of mapping the deepest parts of the ocean with onboard laboratories for other marine science. The ship will have a crew of 20, and room for 24 scientists. After it is built, the R/V Neil Armstrong’s home port will be the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. “R/V” stands for Research Vessel.
While the Tin-Can Sailor in me was biased towards making the USS Neil Armstrong a warship, this is a far better choice. What he accomplished and stood for transcends narrow national interest, so it’s fitting that a line of research vessels would bare his name.