Five New Submarines Named!

For the first time since January 2009 (and the first time in this Administration), we (finally) have new names for the next five Virginia-class submarines. I'm glad to see they went away from the anomaly introduced by the last one of naming it for a politician and went back to the class-standard naming convention. The new names are: USS Illinois (SSN 786), USS Washington (SSN 787), USS Colorado (SSN 788), USS Indiana (SSN 789), and USS South Dakota (SSN 790). If you've gotta name submarines after states (and, while not as good as fish names, it does at least recognize that submarines are the capital ships of the modern Navy), these are good choices; previous incarnations of all except Illinois saw action in WWII, and the last Illinois (BB 65) was supposed to be the fifth Iowa-class battleship; she was cancelled when WWII ended.

I'm expecting that the First Lady will sponsor the Illinois, continuing the recent tradition. By all accounts, Laura Bush did an excellent job as sponsor of USS Texas (SSN 775); hopefully Mrs. Obama will follow that lead, rather than the one provided by then-Mrs. Clinton when she sponsored USS Columbia (SSN 771), but didn't have time to even attend the commissioning.