There was a time when the U.S. Navy received its ransom for naming rights. It didn’t hit up corporations but cities that were seeking the prestige of having their names on the latest frigate or cruiser. When the U.S.S. Spokane was christened, it received gifts from the residents of its namesake city, including a silver tea service.
It’s unclear when that practice ended, but the state apparently didn’t have to come up with anything when the USS Washington, the Navy’s newest nuclear submarine, arrived in Seattle this month for its welcoming ceremony. Well, nothing but the governor, who seemed more than happy to greet the boat.
The ceremony may shows how things have changed in the 30 years since the Navy sent another brand-new nuclear submarine named for a state into Washington waters. The USS Ohio’s maiden trip into the Sound was met by a flotilla of anti-nuke protesters who tried – bravely according to some, foolishly according to others, but unsuccessfully by any measure – to keep the first Trident sub from reaching Bangor.