How does the Navy name its ships?

INDIAN OCEAN (Nov. 20, 2011) The multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) leads a formation of U.S. and Indonesian navy ships during a pass and review. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mark R. Alvarez/Released)

INDIAN OCEAN (Nov. 20, 2011) The multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) leads a formation of U.S. and Indonesian navy ships during a pass and review. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mark R. Alvarez/Released)

Answer: Secretary of the Navy

Mental Floss - In 1819, the United States Congress placed the Secretary of the Navy in charge of naming ships—a power he or she still enjoys. Generally, names are compiled by the Naval Historical Center based on the suggestions from the public, sailors, and retirees, and from naval history. The Chief of Naval Operations formally signs and recommends the list to the Secretary. Ships named for individuals are christened by “the eldest living female descendant” of that individual. Commissioned ships are prefixed with USS, which stands for United States Ship. Though the convention had been in use since the late eighteenth century, it was not standardized or formalized until 1907, by Teddy Roosevelt.

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