One of the things I always enjoyed about the military was our traditions. And even as a retired veteran, it’s always a blast to attend functions where those traditions still resonate. Now, one of the things I truly enjoy about being here in Dallas is there’s a very active military retiree community with activities and gatherings galore. Just yesterday I attended the Bootin’ and Shootin’ event at the Dallas Gun Club to benefit our Wounded Warriors, and I finally got to meet Taya Kyle, wife of the great U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Taya is a true woman of Sparta. When we gather, tall tales are told and such a great emotional bonding of the brotherhood and sisterhood of guardians, past, present, and future.
Now there’s a time-honored tradition in the U.S. Navy — and they’re all about tradition – but it appears the Obama administration cares little for it.
Per the Washington Times, “As the Obama administration this week named another warship after a politician, a new report is circulating in Congress that shows that nearly 200 Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipients have never been awarded such an honor, contrary to naval guidelines and tradition.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who has named several ships after Democrats and liberal activists not connected to the military, was in Detroit on Monday to announce that an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named the USS Carl M. Levin. The Michigan Democrat served 31 years in the Senate and chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee from 2007 to 2015. The move has rankled some Republicans. They note privately the long list of war heroes yet to be so honored and the Navy’s own tradition of naming destroyers after deceased Medal of Honor recipients and other combat heroes, as well as admirals and generals who played significant roles in naval warfare.
Mr. Levin did not serve in the military. In a new report privately delivered to lawmakers, the Congressional Research Service did an extensive examination this winter and found that, of 318 Medal of Honor recipients in the Navy and Marine Corps, 100 have had a ship named after them; the large majority of them — 186 — have not.
The Levin naming did not conform to Mr. Mabus’ own guidelines set out in a report to Congress in 2012 called “Policies and Practices of the U.S. Navy for Naming the Vessels of the Navy.”
An examination by The Washington Times of the 71 Arleigh Burke monikers shows Mr. Levin is the only one — except Winston Churchill — who does not meet the Navy guideline for destroyers. Most Arleigh Burke honorees are naval war heroes; a significant number earned the Medal of Honor. There are several Navy secretaries.”
For those of you who forgot, it was President Obama who had the bust of Sir Winston Churchill removed from the Oval Office. And now, thanks to SecNav Ray Mabus, Sir Winston Churchill is on the same level as Senator Carl Levin, whose great achievement was to be part of Obama’s drawdown of our military. I guess that’s what Obama and Mabus deem as “heroic.” Well, that’s right up there with Susan Rice stating that a known deserter, Bowe Bergdahl, served with “honor and distinction” — where do they find these folks? And oh by the way, where is the deserter Bowe Bergdahl? Maybe he’ll have a weapon system named after him by Obama’s newly appointed Secretary of the Army before we can kick them all out.
But this isn’t the first time the Obama administration has been called on the carpet regarding its naming conventions for naval vessels. As reported back in December 2011 by the LA Times, “The Senate wants the Navy to explain how it selects names for new ships in the wake of controversy over the naming of a ship in memory of labor leader Cesar Chavez.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) complained earlier this year that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ naming of a supply ship after Chavez appeared to be “more about making a political statement than upholding the Navy’s history and tradition.”
A group of Democratic senators who praised Mabus’ decision accused critics of a “disappointing lack of knowledge” of Navy standards and traditions, noting that similar ships have been named for explorers Lewis and Clark, aviator Amelia Earhart, astronaut Alan Shepard and civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Chavez enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and served for two years.
In a statement announcing the name in May, Mabus said: “Cesar Chavez inspired young Americans to do what is right and what is necessary to protect our freedoms and our country. … The Cesar Chavez will sail hundreds of thousands of miles and will bring support and assistance to thousands upon thousands of people. His example will live on in this great ship.”
Man, am I glad I served in the U.S. Army. At least we name our weapon systems after some great combat leaders — Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Abrams Main Battle Tank, Apache Attack helicopter. However, I had best be quiet, because you never know what could happen. Then again, President Obama is too busy decimating our Army and reducing our force structure for me to be concerned about new weapon systems. Heck, I figured the venerable OH-58D Kiowa Warrior was retired due to political correctness — that sure was an awesome bird, just ask any cavalry commander.
Well, one thing is for certain, when it comes to naming a naval vessel after President Obama, perhaps we should break from tradition. Normally aircraft carriers are named after former presidents. Since we’re decimating the surface warship capability of our Navy, maybe the USS Barack H. Obama will be a tug boat or a buoy tender — then again, the latter are in the U.S. Coast Guard. But, if Obama has his way, that may be all our U.S. Navy will be capable of doing — tending buoys.