Strengthening relations between wartime allies basis for naming latest
US Virginia class after British Princess.
New Virginia class fast attack costs US
taxpayers $3.2 billion
A long, black
submarine lurks beneath the ocean waves, carrying a full arsenal of
ship-killing weapons. No other class of warship can find it, fight it,
or even defend against it. If current US military planners have their
way, the latest of these fearsome weapons will be named the USS
"We have a destroyer named after Winston Churchill,
and the 72nd Secretary of the Navy was named England (Gordon England),
why can't we honor the late Princess Diana with the power and majesty
of a Virginia class US sub," says Navy Spokesman Andrew Williams.
Veteran submariners are strongly inclined to disagree. "What's next,
we name a carrier after the Queen?" objects Captain Wilfred Miller. "I
understand political payoffs are a necessary evil but couldn't we
honorably bestow the moniker Princess Diana on a cargo dingy or a
humanitarian resupply vessel?"
"Think of the
positives," urged Andrew Woolhouse, Director of Citizens Against
Landmines, Poverty, and Social Disenfranchisement. "Consider the moral
effect on the enemy when one of their warships is sunk by the Princess
When the U. S. Navy first expanded out from coast defense,
American ships were named according to rules established by Navy
Theodore Roosevelt. Submarines were originally given a letter
prefix, working through the alphabet until the T-class. Someone
pointed out that the letter "U" was next and the Germans had always
called their subs U-boats. The US Navy promptly switched to fish -- USS
Some exceptions did exist; one carrier was named "Shangri-La"
after a fictional land, a cruiser was named "Canberra" after a foreign
city. Originally armored (heavy) cruisers were also named after States
and Battle cruisers after Battles and Famous Ships. (The first large
American aircraft carriers -- Lexington and Saratoga -- were built on
converted battle cruiser hulls, and later carriers followed this
With the evolution of naval technology, new ship types replaced
others, and the naming system changed accordingly. As warships became
incredibly expensive, politicians were key in obtaining funding.
Accordingly, US submarines began taking the names of states
instrumental in their existence. The first of the post-Seawolf class
subs was named Virginia, the next Texas. And now, in a move designed
to win British public approval, Princess Diana.
Williams insists, "Diana was a fearless crusader, a brave and strong individual. I
see no reason why this opportunity to show solidarity with our mates
across the pond should find objection."