California Republican Blasts Navy Plans To Name Ship After Cesar Chavez

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The U.S. Navy’s plan to name a cargo ship after the late farmworker activist Cesar Chavez received sharp criticism from a California Republican congressman who on Tuesday said the decision was unfair to military war heroes.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he learned of the matter from Navy officials, who have not made their plans public yet. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is expected to announce the decision on Wednesday when he visits the facilities of General Dynamic NASSCO in San Diego’s mostly Hispanic neighborhood, Barrio Logan.

“Naming a ship after Cesar Chavez goes right along with other recent decisions by the Navy that appear to be more about making a political statement than upholding the Navy’s history and tradition,” said Hunter, a former Marine.

Chavez, himself, joined the Navy in 1946 and served two years before being honorably discharged, and two of his cousins were killed fighting in WWII.

Hunter was among five dozen House lawmakers who criticized the Navy over a recent decision that would have allowed chaplains to perform same sex-unions in states where gay marriage is legal. The Navy abruptly reversed that decision.

Hunter said a better choice for the last of the 14 Lewis and Clark-class cargo ships would be Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who was nominated for the Medal of Honor for action in Iraq — or WWII Medal of Honor recipient John Finn, a lifelong San Diego resident.

The other 13 cargo ships built by NASSCO for the Navy have been named after such notable Americans as explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and famed aviator Amelia Earhart. Chavez would be the first Mexican-American in that group.

The boat builder’s spokesman, James Gill, said NASSCO suggested the name to the Navy because it wanted to honor its mostly Hispanic workforce and the neighborhood where it is located. Navy officials declined to comment Tuesday on Hunter’s remarks.

Chavez, who died in 1993 at the age of 66, is credited with helping to secure a U.S. law that recognized farmworkers’ rights to organize unions and engage in collective bargaining.

Marc Grossman, a spokesman for the Cesar Chavez Foundation, knew Chavez for 24 years and said he was a humble man who would never have wanted the spotlight.

“He was always uncomfortable being singled out for praise because he knew there were many Cesar Chavezes — farmworkers who made great sacrifices and accomplished great things but who were unknown,” he said. “So the Chavez family today acknowledges this honor in the name of all Latinos who have built this country and served this country in the armed services.”

Barrio Logan on San Diego’s waterfront near the Coronado Bridge came about in 1871 when Congressman John A. Logan wrote legislation to provide federal land grants for a transcontinental railroad ending in San Diego. Logan’s project never happened but a street in the area was named after him, and later the zone became known as Barrio Logan when an influx of Mexicans moved into the area after that country’s 1910 Revolution.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. anti redneck says:

    ^ Sent any of your kids to die for oil recently Mr. Hate Monger?

    1. Tom says:

      Exactly how much oil has the U.S. taken as a result of the wars? You sound like an idiot because none of the recent wars have been about oil. If they were, wouldn’t Obama have ended them? Please go back and finish High School. Then, maybe you’ll be able to read a news article and make a reasonable judgement of it. Maybe you be capable a doing additional research and find the truth. Not all articles are factually correct. Also, why not name the ship after a war hero instead of a farm hero? There are plenty of other more worthy candidates.

  2. Tom says:

    It seems to me that there are more deserving people. Equality, you are the blind person who can’t see their own racism. Chavez was never known as a war hero. Why not name a farm after him? That is more in line of what he was known for.

    1. Redrum says:

      Tom why don’t you go back to High School. You sound a little racist to me. All you are doing in rationalizing your behaviour. Most of us can see it is all about hate. But thanks for your opinion. It helps me show my children what kind of morons there are out there.

  3. Frank says:

    equality is a Mexican no doubt !!!!

  4. Steve Goodelle says:

    It sure is nice seeing all this racism. You all must be teabaggers. What’s your moto, let get the sheets boys, I’ll get the wooden cross?

    1. Ron says:

      Steve, what’s next?

      Will we be forced to name a ship after one of the NOTORIOUS MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS, because it is the POLITICALLY correct thing to do? Don’t want to be called a racist.

      Do we have a ship named after Martin Luther King? If NOT, I think he should be first. If you don’t want to be accused of being a RACIST. What do you say, STEVE?

      I think you have the teabaggers confused with the KLAN. Or some of the boys in Huntington Beach.

  5. RALPH says:

    DID THIS MAN SERVE IN THE ARMED SERVICE? I DON’T SO. DID HE HELP THE FARM WORKERS GET BETTER PAY, TREATMENT, WORK ENVIROMENT, HE SURE DID, BUT DOES HE DESERVE A SHIP NAMED AFTER HIM? I DON’T THING SO. IF HE WAS MILITARY MAN THAT WENT AND SERVED AND HELP PROTECT AND DIED FOR THIS NATION OF OURS THEN WE SHOULD NOT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS IDEA. BUT FOR PROTECTING THE FARM WORKER, HE ALREADY HAS SCHOOLS, PARKS, STREETS NAMED AFTER HIM. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

    1. redrum says:

      Ralph your sheet is showing.

  6. PL says:

    RALPH can’t read—–
    another victim of republican budget cuts?
    Please rewrite the article using smaller words,
    especially the part where it states Chavez enlisted
    in the Navy 1946.

  7. VBSS NAVY VETERAN says:

    First its a cargo ship. it WILL NOT be used in combat missions with the exception of refueling and and helicopter onloads of food mail, which takes place out of a combat zone. second this ship will most likely not bear the traditional USS , but rather the USNS name. the real ships stick to famous battles, I.e. bunker hill, bellawood, or presidents, or famous American historical events, the comstock load.

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