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Senators want a USS Ted Stevens to honor peer

Mar. 14, 2013 - 05:12PM   |  
Senators are requesting the Navy Secretary name a ship after Ted Stevens, the late senator from Alaska.
Senators are requesting the Navy Secretary name a ship after Ted Stevens, the late senator from Alaska. ()
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Lawmakers have asked the Navy to name an aircraft carrier or other high-value ship after Ted Stevens, a deceased senator and World War II veteran who once chaired the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senators requested the ship name in a resolution, known as a “Sense of the Senate,” to the defense spending bill now before Congress.

“It is the Sense of the Senate that the next available capital warship of the U.S. Navy be named the USS Ted Stevens to recognize the public service achievements, military service sacrifice, and undaunted heroism and courage of the long-serving United States Senator for Alaska,” the resolution states.

The resolution expresses the Senate majority’s view, but is not binding. Ship-naming remains the prerogative of the Navy secretary, a position that has disregarded Congressional suggestions in the past.

Stevens flew in the Army Air Corps during World War II and later attended Harvard Law School on the G.I. Bill. A life-long Republican, he represented Alaska in the Senate for four decades. Stevens lost his seat in the 2008 election and was convicted on corruption charges, which were later overturned. He died in a plane crash in 2010.

In keeping with ship-naming conventions, the Navy could decide to name a Ford-class aircraft carrier after Stevens. So far, two of the three supercarriers are named for presidents; the third is a storied name, USS Enterprise. There is a precedent: the Nimitz-class carrier John C. Stennis is named for another chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Another possibility is a destroyer, which are typically named for war heroes.

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