Giffords honored with Navy ship

The U.S. Navy has named its newest ship after former Congresswoman Giffords. Giffords is someone whose name is synonymous with courage said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

Congresswoman Giffords attended the ceremony at the Pentagon, and was joined by the mother of slain 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. Roxanna Green was named the ship’s sponsor.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords is a littoral combat ship, which is designed for agile, near-shore deployment of troops, helicopters and other smaller vessels.

While many Tucsonans are happy with the honor, there have been runmblings among the Navy ranks. The Navy Times wrote an article in which some expressed displeasure with the Navy Secretary’s political actions.

“Although LCSs recently have been named for cities, Mabus passed up the opportunity to name a ship for Phoenix, Arizona’s largest city, named for the mythical bird that rose from its own ashes to fly again.

The previous Phoenix, a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine, was decommissioned in 1998.

The Tucson, a submarine named for the largest city in Giffords’ district, is in service with the Pacific Fleet.

The Navy is building 55 LCS ships. The original naming scheme for the type was for patriotic-sounding place or regional names. But after the first two ships were named Freedom and Independence, the scheme was changed to small or mid-sized cities, and the last two LCS names announced were for Montgomery and Little Rock.

Mabus, who as Navy secretary has the authority to name its ships, has garnered criticism for some of his choices.

A decision in April 2010 to name a landing transport dock ship after deceased Rep. John Murtha, an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq and the Bush administration, continues to rankle conservatives. LPDs previously had been named for small or medium-sized cities or geographic place names.

Last October, Mabus added another wrinkle to the already jumbled scheme for naming new joint high speed vessels when he changed the name of the second JHSV from its Army name of Vigilant to Choctaw County, his home county in Mississippi. The Navy had not used county names for its ships since the 1950s and 1960s.”