Rep. Roy Dyson has taken an unusual stand for a Democrat: He wants to name an aircraft carrier after Republican President Reagan.
"It seems so thoroughly American to name it after a president," said Dyson, who represents Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Dyson, a member of the Armed Services subcommittee on seapower, said he thought it appropriate that a recommendation to honor Reagan come from Maryland's 1st Congressional District because Reagan's defense policies have directly benefitted the many military employes and contractors there. He said he did not find it unusual that the suggestion to honor a Republican president came from a Democrat.
But he said he was a little disappointed at the response from the Navy, which actually chooses the names.
Dyson wrote a letter to Navy Secretary John F. Lehman Jr. in November. He got a response earlier this month from James F. Goodrich, "an under secretary, and you know how many of them there are," he said. "I wonder why the Navy didn't treat it more seriously."
In the letter, Goodrich wrote, "I agree that naming a ship for President Reagan is a fitting gesture to a man who has maintained and promoted our commitment to American democratic ideals." But the Navy has not yet determined whether it will follow through on Dyson's idea.
Dyson said the idea has generated little opposition, although one constituent wrote to him, urging that the federal government go back to the old system of naming battleships after states, submarines after fish and aircraft carriers after major battles.
"I realize that my idea is a little unorthodox," said Dyson. "But we haven't had many great modern battles lately."