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San Diego area Rep. Duncan Hunter criticizes Navy's decision to name ship for Cesar Chavez

May 17, 2011 |  1:21 pm

Rep. Duncan Hunter. U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) disagrees with the Navy's decision to name a cargo ship under construction in San Diego for California farm labor leader Cesar Chavez.

The decision, announced Tuesday, "appear[s] to be more about making a political statement than upholding the Navy's history and tradition," Hunter said in press release.

Hunter, who served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that if the Navy wanted to recognize "the Hispanic contribution to our nation, many other names come to mind."

Hunter mentioned Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, killed in combat in Iraq and nominated for the Medal of Honor.

"Peralta is one of many Hispanic war heroes -- some of whom are worthy of the same recognition," Hunter said.

He also mentioned as worthy of having a ship named for him the late John Finn, the recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions on Dec. 7, 1941.

The decision to name the dry cargo ship after Chavez was announced by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus during a trip to San Diego. Chavez served in the Navy during World War II.

'Update 4:30pm: [Mabus will speak Wednesday at the shipyard, making the announcement official. Members of the Chavez family are slated to be in attendance.]



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Photo: Rep. Duncan Hunter. Photo courtesy of Rep. Hunter