Congressman Graves wonders why latest Navy Destroyer won’t be named USS Chattanooga

WASHINGTON D.C. (WDEF) – Rep. Tom Graves is joining criticism of the naming of the next Destroyer for the U.S. Navy.

The Navy held an event on April 11th naming the ship the USS Carl M. Levin, after a retired democratic Senator.

Rep. Graves questions why it was not named the USS Chattanooga as a tribute to the victims of the July 16th shootings.

Others Republicans have also questioned the choice for political reasons.

Navy tradition calls for destroyers to be named for deceased members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Levin is none of those, and is very much alive.

But there is another tradition of secretaries of the Navy breaking the reward friendly lawmakers.

A report found that about 18 current ships have been named people who were living when they were commissioned.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus named seven of them over the last four years.

Rep. Graves earlier joined Rep. Fleischmann and Senators Alexander and Corker calling for a USS Chattanooga.

He put his new concern in a letter to the Navy.

“I am writing today to express concern with recent U.S. Navy ship naming decisions and to again respectfully request that you give all due consideration to honoring the five service members killed in the terrorist attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 16, 2015 by naming an appropriate naval vessel the USS Chattanooga… There is clearly ample justification for honoring these five service members. That is why I was surprised and disappointed when it came to my attention that the decision has been made to name DDG-120 after retired Senator Carl Levin.”

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith who was killed in the terrorist attack, lived in Rossville in Graves’ district.

Categories: Local News, Walker County

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