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Navy Plan to Name Ship After Late Rep. John Murtha Meets Opposition

5 years ago
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A plan to name a Navy vessel after the late Pennsylvania congressman John Murtha is meeting growing opposition among those still upset over comments the former Marine made about the war in Iraq.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced last week that Murtha, who served 18 terms in the House, would have a San Antonio class ship (pictured) named in his honor. It would be the first ship in its class not named for an American city.

Murtha, who died in February at age 77, was the first House member who served in combat in the Vietnam War. He received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.

He angered many of his fellow veterans in 2005 when he came out against the Iraq war. When a group of Marines was accused of killing Iraqi civilians in Haditha, Murtha said the Marines had acted "in cold blood." (Charges against six of the Marines were dropped, one was acquitted and another is awaiting trial on lesser counts.)

Since Mabus announced the honor, thousands of postings in opposition have been made on a Facebook group called "People Against Naming A Navy Ship USS Murtha," The Navy Times reported.

Angry comments were also posted on the Navy's own Web site, where visitors said naming a ship for Murtha was "an absolute disgrace," and as bad as naming a warship for Benedict Arnold.

A Facebook poster said Murtha had "betrayed the brotherhood," that naming a ship for him was a "slap in the face" and that if the military wanted to name a vessel for him, it should have chosen "a nice, stinky garbage scow," according to the Navy newspaper.
Filed Under: House, Democrats, Military

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