That’s right, folks: Your United States Navy–which finally took possession of the old Hawaii Superferry vessels Alakai and Huakai a few months ago after the company (which operated for just a couple years under great controversy) finally went bust–has renamed them. They’re now the USNS Guam and USNS Puerto Rico, respectively, according to this Pacific Business News blog post.
According to the actual Department of Defense statement put out today, the names honor our nation’s glorious imperial past:
The selection of the name Guam honors the long-standing historical and military relationship between Guam and the United States. This relationship began in 1898 when the United States acquired the island from Spain as a result of the “Treaty of Paris” that ended the Spanish-American War. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese captured Guam which they occupied until U.S. troops retook the island on July 21, 1944, a date commemorated every year as “Liberation Day”. Guam continues to host many of the United States’ critical military installations in the Pacific Ocean.
Selection of the name Puerto Rico honors the association of Puerto Rico and the United States that dates back to 1898 when Spain ceded control of the island in the Treaty of Paris. Although the initial intent was for the island to serve as a location for rest, coaling and repair stations for the Navy, Puerto Rico has formed a close relationship with the United States. Numerous Puerto Ricans have served proudly and the territory has been home to five Medal of Honor recipients — Fernando L. Garcia, Carlos James Lozada, Euripides Rubio, Hector Santiago-Colon and Humbert Roque Versace.
Seriously? Then again, with a few notable exceptions (Enterprise, Hornet, Nautilus), the navy has just named ships after people, cities or states. Sometimes battles, but not often (submarines used to get fish names like Albacore and Tang, but now they’re just named after cities and states). Now British ships–those names rock: Ark Royal, Courageous, Victory.
Okay, enough war romanticism. Back to work…