Navy Names Ship after Labor Leader César Chávez

Friday, May 20, 2011
César Chávez emlisted in the Navy at the age of 17
The U.S. Navy has decided to name the last cargo ship of its kind after labor leader César Chávez.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the 14th Lewis and Clark-class cargo ship will carry the name of Chávez, who led the drive to unionize farm workers. The ship was built at a San Diego shipyard that has a Latino workforce and is located near Barrio Logan, a mostly Latino neighborhood.
Republican Duncan Hunter, a congressman and former U.S. Marine from Orange County, took exception to naming the vessel after Chávez, arguing the Navy should have selected a military war hero to honor. Chávez served in the Navy from 1946, when he was 17 years old, until 1948.
Many of the other 13 Lewis and Cark ships have been named after explorers, including Native American guide Sacagawea, aviator Amelia Earhart, polar explorers Robert Peary and Richard Byrd, and astronauts Alan Shepard and Wally Schirra. Others have honored African-American heroes, such as civil rights activist Medgar Evers and medical researcher Charles Drew.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Navy Names New Ship for Labor Leader Cesar Chavez (by Julie Watson, Associated Press)
Fact Sheet Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ships (Military Sealift Command)


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