Last night over Catherine’s shoulder in a bar, no this is not the beginning of a joke. I watched the President give a speech to 7,000 active duty service members, veterans, spouses/partners, basketball players and a worldwide TV audience. The President and First Lady were attending the first ever “Carrier Classic” College basketball tournament in honor of Veterans Day. As soon as I got home I checked this event out and seriously it looks pretty darn impressive.

Not being much of a basketball fan, I was more curious about the Carl Vinson, sure it’s a aircraft carrier, a super carrier in fact. But how did it get its’ name, why the USS Carl Vinson?

Here’s why…

He was known as “The Father of the Two-Ocean Navy”

Carl Vinson D-GA served 26 terms, a total of 59 years in elected service.

He had several nicknames, the Georgia Swamp Fox and the Admiral.

During his tenure in the U.S. House, Vinson was a champion for national defense and especially the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps.

He joined the House Naval Affairs Committee shortly after World War I and became the ranking Democratic member in the early 1920s.

In 1931, Vinson became chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee.

He later was primarily responsible for additional naval expansion legislation, the Second Vinson Act of 1938 and the Third Vinson Act of 1940, as well as the Two-Ocean Navy Act of 1940.

Vinson oversaw the modernization of the military as its focus shifted to the Cold War. He was also committee chair, when Congress authorized the procurement of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carriers starting with the USS Enterprise in the late 1950s.

Until 1980 ships were only named after the deceased, Carl Vinson was not only alive when he received this honor but lived long enough to attend it’s launch on March 15, 1980. He was 96. Thus far no one else has received this honor.

Carl Vinson had no children, but it appears that his interest in politics and military affairs was passed on to his grand-nephew, Sam Nunn of Perry, Georgia. In 1972, Nunn was elected to the United States Senate, where he served on the Senate Armed Services Committee for almost a quarter century. Until his retirement in 1997, Sen. Nunn followed “Uncle Carl” as a widely respected leader in maintaining a strong national defense for this country.


Love the seersucker! You can read more about Carl Vinson here.

I had a lot of fun with the videos folks have been posting all day about the Carrier Classic. Watching the players fold themselves into the bunks was painful, check out the Michigan guys on their tour.

Time lapse video of crew building the stadium and basketball court on the carrier deck.  *Cough* If you watched that video, I’mma just going to go ahead and say what you are thinking, yeah whoever picked that music has seen the inside of more than one gay bar. Good thing we repealed DADT.

Oh and who won? Duh, the TarHeels

No, thank YOU!

6 Responses to Of ships and sails and basketball court floor wax

  1. Todd Rehm says:

    Great story. When I was a child, my father was in the Navy then worked at Newport News Shipbuilding during the construction of Vinson. For years I had a poster of USS Carl Vinson on my wall.

  2. Juliana says:


    Wait they have more than one basketball team in MI, really? FYI I did link to right team tho.

    Oh yes in the day we were chock full of segregationist Dems! I think fortunately for Vinson, he retired in 65 so he doesn’t have same voting history as Russell and Talmage

  3. Ed says:

    It was Michigan State, not Michigan.

    FWIW that made me chuckle as it affirms your lack of interest in sports.

    GA had the most BAMF congressional delegation.

  4. JMPrince says:

    We missed you in Macon too Jules. We also present the USS Macon 132, a Baltimore class ‘heavy’ cruiser, a large impressive model of which is in the Macon City Hall front foyer & reception area.

    Let’s review here; she was born in New Jersey (Camden Yards) 1943-44, and finished (scrapped) there in 1969. No evidence of ever having fired a shot at any enemy either.

    That was also part of the legacy of the bloated Defense Dept. It was & remains a type of specialized ‘military Keynesian’ spending that we all happily engage in while more economically useful and stimulative (producing more jobs) spending on infrastructure has been actively dis-invested in during the GOP Reagan era ‘budget busting’ ascendancy. Our much vaunted, but pretty much redundant goal of a ‘600 ship Navy’ of that era was certainly a product of that massive miss-allocation of our national wealth.

    But hey we could not fight multiple wars around the world simultaneously without all this marvelous stuff. And if we did not contract out ~50% of the DoD budget, we’d also still be getting some more ‘bang’ for our buck too.

    So yes, absolutely critical during wartime, somewhat more wasteful during the 40 year follow on period. And a swell game & new tradition too. But no one wants to start some arguments about peculiar naval traditions, this quip often miss-attributed to a younger Churchill too:


  5. Scott E says:

    Nice article until the end where you insinuated that music choice dictates sexual preference.

  6. Eddy Galuska says:

    Very cool piece.