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Sunday, July 13, 2003

USS Ronald Reagan

Yesterday the USS Ronald Reagan was Commissoned into service in the United States Navy. It is the first aircraft carrier named after a still living President, and has such caused some controversy (though not as much as the propsective USS George H W Bush). Coming from a Royal Navy family I find the naming of ships after people quite odd anyway. Of all current ships in the RN I can only think of a very small handful of people that get ships named after them. These are usually famous Admirals or Royalty. There is the notable exception of the name Iron Duke referring to Sir Arthur Wellesly, Viscount of Talavera and Duke of Wellington. In fact there is a HMS Iron Duke currently in service. She is one of the Type 23 or 'Duke' class of Frigates named after various Duchies, or in this case a famous Duke. As for the Admirals and Royalty, their place in RN nomenculture has always been a small number of ships among a much larger sea.

For example, of the 35 Dreadnoughts that served during WW1 only seven were named after people. Famous battles (Agincourt), mythological figures (Bellerophon, Neptune, Orion), places (Canada, Malayasia) or martial virtues (Conqueror, Audacious, Resolution), dominate, alongside the mandatory traditional names (Warspite, Royal Oak). On the whole I have to say I prefer RN names to the USN names. HMS Daring just sounds better than USS Arleigh Burke.

Not that I think Ronald Reagan is undeserving of this honour. I think he will probably go down as the most influential politician of the latter half of the 20th century. But I do find it slighty amusing that there is a USS Winston S Churchill in the USN whereas the RN is never likely to honour one of its greatest First Sea Lords.

However, my only concern now is that the next time the Democrats are in power we will have the USS William Jefferson Clinton inflicted upon the world.

I wonder if that constitues a crime against humanity?

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