The Navy has caused a small uproar over its decision to name a cargo ship currently under construction in San Diego, California, after union activist Cesar Chavez. Chavez was a Navy veteran and a noted civil rights leader.
General Dynamics Nassco, the shipbuilding firm in charge of construction, suggested the name in honor of its Latino workforce. Nearly a third of the population of San Diego is of Hispanic descent.
The ship is being built in the prominently Latino neighborhood of San Diego called Barrio Logan.
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Republican congressman Duncan Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, slammed the decision as being biased and unfair to military war heroes.
"Naming a ship after César Chávez 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 during a press conference.
Just last week Hunter took issue with the Navy over its decision to allow chaplains to perform same sex unions in states where gay marriage is legal. The Navy reversed that decision after being pressured by Hunter and other lawmakers.
It is yet to be seen if the same result happens this time around.
“This is a fitting tribute to Chavez, who served in the Navy, and follows the Navy’s recent decisions to name other supply ships after American visionaries from Medgar Evers to Amelia Earhart to Lewis and Clark,” countered Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California.
The ship has been under construction in San Diego Harbor since late October, and once completed will be the 14th and final cargo ship in what is known as the Lewis and Clark class. These ships are designed to give the Navy a forward operating presence around the world, carrying food, ammunition, and general cargo needed to replenish other Navy ships.