I have previously talked about how submarine naming protocol has changed in the 120 years since the United States Navy accepted her first submarine. The Holland was named after her builder and for the next few decades the Navy shifted between Numbers and names of fishes. The journey up until recently was captured in one of my earlier blogs: What’s in a name? (a short explanation of how naming submarines got so fishy fifty years ago) – theleansubmariner
Now it appears that the Navy has made another course correction and will name the next two Virginia Class Submarines after two of the most famous World War 2 submarines, USS Wahoo and USS Tang.
I think its a great choice and fits with traditions that go back to the very early days of our force.
One question remains.
When we were naming 688 class submarines after cities and 726 Class submarines after states, it wasn’t that difficult to get relationships built between the places the names came from and the boats. The story of the USS Pittsburgh will long remain as an example of the best relationship that can be demonstrated. The story is well documented on this blog.
So the question is: Since a more traditional name is being applied to these new boats, who will adopt them?
Pittsburgh had a great advantage since the early founders of the USS Pittsburgh support group were all businessmen and well resourced individuals. Fund raising was challenging but once underway, the leadership was able to establish a very generous fund for both launching and commissioning. The fund was so generous, it still exists today as a scholarship fund for former USS Pittsburgh Sailors and their families.
Wouldn’t it be grand to have focused groups that supported both Wahoo and Tang. I know that USSVI is dedicated to preserving the memory of the boats but who would take the lead?