December 15, 2007

Navy ship = ruins

U.S.S. Mesa Verde CommissioningIn a ceremony filled with music, and even a gun salute, former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell from Colorado took the stage as one of 44 Chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. His wife, Linda Campbell, is the sponsor of the ship, and he's sending a special token with the crew of the U.S.S. Mesa Verde.

This is the only vessel to carry the name Mesa Verde, in recognition of the Mesa Verde National Park in Southwestern Colorado. It will be based out of Norfolk, Virginia.
Comment:  Funny name for a Navy ship. It's honoring a national park, a set of ruins, not the Indian people who lived there. If it were honoring the Indians, it would be honoring people who predated America, who had nothing to do with the ocean, whose society collapsed because of the environment. It's an odd choice for a ship that stands for US military success and might.

Imagine if the Navy had to come up with a historically accurate slogan to match the ship's name. "Sail on the USS Mesa Verde. In a few years your ship will fall apart and you'll have to abandon it. Because that's what 'Mesa Verde' stands for."

5 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Is this related to the business that there ostensibly cannot be either Native American fiction or novels because Natives did not write either kind of form? In fewer words, that there was no Native Navy, ever? Shoot, there go writerfella's plans for a USS Chaco Canyon! And OMG, what is to become of the USS Sherman Alexie?
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

dmarks said...

There's something even worse than implied "ruins" for a ship name. Consider the space shuttle they named Atlantis.

Rob said...

No, this business isn't related to that business. I simply think a ship's name should have some faint relationship to its mission.

If the Navy named ships after seagoing tribes, I wouldn't complain. That would make sense to me, even if those tribes didn't have navies.

Rob said...

You could say Atlantis sank into the ocean, or you say it lives on in our memory as a place of splendor and glory. Therefore, I'd say it's a better name for a craft than Mesa Verde.

True, you'd be tempting fate to name a ship Atlantis, just as people did with the name Titanic. Why set yourself up for a big embarrassment?

Of course, a space shuttle is less likely to sink than a ship (the Challenger notwithstanding). But I'd sure think twice about naming a shuttle Icarus.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Ah, now writerfella understands! The USS Ronald Reagan now reveals exactly why it is the only US Navy vessel that can't remember its own name!
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'