Dear Mr. Ray Mabus -
It has been nearly a century since the Navy has named a vessel after our fair state. As you may know, the USS Oregon was a battleship that saw action in the Spanish-American War, but it was decommissioned in 1919. Even landlocked states like Arizona and Wisconsin have fared better than our fine state (with, ahem, 400 miles of prime Pacific coastline). In fact, Oregon has gone the longest of any state to not have a ship named after it.
First off, thank you for announcing in April that you will name an amphibious transport dock ship after Portland. Additionally, we are very pleased that the Navy has named a swift destroyer after Bend native Donald McFaul, a Navy SEAL killed in combat in 1989 (although we are curious about exactly what sort of combat the U.S. military was engaged in during those years).
Humbly, we submit some additional suggestions for local heroes, and the vessels we believe would be best to carry their names.
Have a wonderful Independence Day!
Frank John was a bit out of step with popular Roaring '20s attitudes when he ran for president both in 1924 and 1928, representing the Socialist Labor Party. Against Calvin Coolidge, he earned only 0.1% of the popular vote in 1924. But John is still a hero. The true type of hero. While stumping in Bend, on the banks of Mirror Pond, he heard screams from a young boy. According to witnesses, he didn't hesitate to jump in. But it was May, and the water was freezing. Both he and the boy drowned. Please consider naming something very floatable after Mr. John.
What's long, hard and full of seamen? HA! Get it?
Kathleen Rockwell wasn't from Bend. Better known as Klondike Kate, the bloomer beauty was a pinup girl who toured the Yukon Territory in the turn-of-the-last-century, before a mildly successful early Hollywood career. She moved to Eastern Oregon and lived out her final decades as a recluse, the perfect representation for a stealth submarine.
While we understand that Les Schwab is perhaps better suited for naming an Army jeep, we figure as long as we have your attention, we could pitch the idea. Aircraft carrier? They have lots of vehicles, and plenty of wheels. Perhaps you could get a discount for sponsorship? Or at least a boatload of free steaks!
When Alexander Drake arrived in 1900 from Minnesota, there were only 21 people registered as residents. He built a mill and also set in place Bend's first power generator, the dam that formed Mirror Pond. Oh, yeah, he persuaded fellow Minnesotan James Hill to run rail lines closer to Bend. He already has a park named after him, but that seems so stationary for a mover-and-shaker. Perhaps a cruiser?
What's the fastest boat you've got? Yeah! That one! The one that darts around the high seas and chases down pirates. Ashton Eaton is pretty much the closest mortal to Superman—he won two World Championship decathlons, just won his third national title and grabbed a gold at last year's Olympics. Strong, fast, leaps buildings in a single bound. Can you think of anyone better to represent the Navy? Michael who?