Saturday, May 30, 2015

Catching Up on Names, Namesakes

by Bill Doughty
New Jersey, John Finn, Midway and Craig Symonds, Mary Roach, Jimmy Carter and John S. McCain – all in the news recently and each with featured spots in Navy Reads. Make the connections...

A state of the Navy is New Jersey. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced this week that the newest Virginia-class attack submarine to be named after the Garden State would be SSN 796, USS New Jersey. A DOD story this week reminds us that the Navy’s first submarine, USS Holland, was designed and built in New Jersey in 1900.

Medal of Honor recipient John Finn, Dec. 7, 2006.
In Mabus's home state of Mississippi, at the beginning of this month, USS John Finn was christened at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagaoula. According to an informative post about John Finn on Navy Live Blog, "The future USS John Finn is the 63rd Arleigh Burke class destroyer, and the first of the DDG 51 Flight IIA restart ships."

John Finn passed away five years ago this week, May 27, 2010. We interviewed him for Navy Reads in late 2009, when he told us his favorite author prior to World War II was Ernest Thompson Seton – author, artist and naturalist. “I always loved books about wildlife,” he said. 

Finn was a hero who fought back against Imperial Japanese Navy planes attacking Oahu, Hawaii on December 7, 1941.

Craig Symonds
On Oahu next week Craig L. Symonds will be featured speaker at the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which became the namesake for a great aircraft carrier, USS Midway (CV 41), now a museum in San Diego. The battle is considered the turning point of the war in the Pacific, just six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor and Oahu.
Dr. Symonds, a scholar of naval history and the Civil War, will conduct several book-signing events and interviews during the week leading up to the event at PAM, Saturday, June 6, 2015.

Mary Roach
Meanwhile, another gifted author who has contributed to Navy Reads, Mary Roach, is up in Skagway, Alaska this week as keynote speaker for "Exploring the Frontiers of Language / Let Skagway Inspire You," sponsored by North Word Writers Symposium. Roach – a champion of science, humor and critical thinking – is author of the New York Times bestsellers "Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal," "Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void," "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers," "Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex," and "Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife." 

Yesterday, 90-year-old Navy veteran and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter – author of numerous books on human rights, history, international relations and peace – attended a change of command ceremony for his namesake submarine, Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) during a ceremony at Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor, Wash.

Cmdr. Melvin Smith (right) assumes command of USS Jimmy Carter.
Cmdr. Melvin Smith relieved Cmdr. Brian Elkowitz as commanding officer.

A story noted that "the 39th president and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner is the only U.S. president to graduate from the Naval Academy and the only one to qualify on submarines."

Carter, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946 and served in the Navy until 1953, said: "Of all the honors I have ever received, I've never had anything of greater honor than the chance to be the namesake of USS Jimmy Carter."

Vice Adm. John S. McCain Sr. and Cmdr. John S. McCain Jr. in 1945.
In a ceremony May 28 in Yokosuka Japan, the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class USS John S. McCain conducted a change of command ceremony. Cmdr. Chad Graham relieved Cmdr. Chase Sergeant as CO. McCain is named for Admirals John S. McCain Sr. and John S. McCain Jr., both WWII veterans and leaders, grandfather and father to Senator John McCain, Vietnam veteran, Navy pilot and former POW.

Sen. McCain's book "Character is Destiny" was featured on Navy Reads last year. The book, written with Mark Salter, is filled with short biographies and inspirational stories about core values, leadership, and the importance of good character.

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