Congressional commission recommends the US Navy rename two ships with names tied to the Confederacy


The US Congressional Naming Commission is recommending the US Navy rename two ships whose names have ties to the Confederacy: the USS Chancellorsville and the USNS Maury, commissioners said Tuesday.

The USS Chancellorsville, a US Navy Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, was named for the battle of Chancellorsville in 1863 during the American Civil War. The USNS Maury, a Pathfinder-class oceanographic survey ship, was named for Matthew Fontaine Maury, who served in the Confederacy.

The commission, an independent panel, will not provide name recommendations for either of the ships but will leave that to the Navy, the commissioners said during a media roundtable Tuesday.

The commission was established by Congress in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act to provide recommendations to the Defense Department on renaming Confederate markers on US military installations.

Military Sealift Command's oceanographic survey ship USNS Maury (T-AGS 66) pulls into Naval Station Norfolk.

The renaming of bases with Confederate monikers has been a years-long process, having first become a hot button political issue in the final months of the Trump administration. At the time, then-President Donald Trump blasted the idea and vetoed the NDAA, accusing others of wanting to “throw those names away.”

In the waning days of his administration, Congress delivered its first and only veto override during his tenure, approving the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The commission estimates the total cost of renaming all the military bases, installations and assets it has identified will cost about $62 million, a release from the commission said. It has made its recommendations in three parts, with the third and final part due to Congress by October 1.

The first part of the report focused on renaming nine military bases and will cost more than $21 million, the commission said in its release. The second part, focused on the US Military Academy and the US Naval Academy, will cost about $451,000. The third part of the report will be the most costly, at about nearly $41 million, the release said.

It will recommend that the secretary of defense authorize directors of “all defense entities and organizations rename defense assets under their control that commemorate the Confederacy or individuals who voluntarily served with the Confederacy,” the release said. It will also recommend the secretary of defense give that same authority to the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force to rename assets in their respective military branches that commemorate the Confederacy.

The latest installment of the report also recommends the statue atop the monument at the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery be removed.

“All bronze elements on the monument should be deconstructed, and removed, preferably leaving the granite base and foundation in place to minimize the risk of inadvertent disturbance of graves,” the release said.

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