Thursday, April 15, 2010
The late Congressman John Murtha of Johnstown will have a navy amphibious ship named for him.
According to the Navy Times, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has decided to name the 10th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock for the long-time Congressman who chaired the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. Murtha, who was a marine during the Vietnam War, died in February due to complications following surgery.
One of his former colleagues, Congressman Joe Sestak of Delaware County, is a retired 3-star admiral. Sestak says this is a large amphibious ship that can carry up to 800 mariners plus their landing craft and helicopters. He says the ship is good for quick surgical strikes.....
"You may have a terrorist who is residing in a country like Somalia. That's a ship in the middle of the sea that can quietly and stealthily go in with about 20 marines, land, seize the terrorist and repart (leave) quickly."
Sestak says this is due recognition for Murtha who was the first Vietnam War veteran to be elected to Congress...
"to a man who was truly a patriot, a warrior, a wonderful Congress member, who served this nation ever war. But it's also recognition to a generation, an era of wonderful service members who loved this country."
There are opponents to the naming of the ship for Murtha. Detractors criticized his comments from 2005 when he said that marines operating in Haditha, Iraq had killed "innocent people."
Congressman Sestak says Murtha spoke his beliefs and "while he loved the service he knew there had to be accountability in the service."