When the Navy launches a new vessel, many people have had a hand in the event: designers, engineers, shipfitters, draftsmen, stenographers, welders, bookkeepers, and accountants. Literally thousands of civilian and naval personnel have made their contributions to each new ship of the Navy. And at some point along the line, somebody has to give her a name. This is the traditional official responsibility of the Chief of Naval Personnel.
For more than two years during World War II, this was my job—dreaming up names for naval vessels so that the Chief could recommend them to the Secretary for assignment to an endless stream of new construction.
Now, compared with destroyer or advance base duty, naming ships in Washington can be regarded as on the plush side. There's nothing to it, I thought. So the Navy has another ship, so all I have to do is think of a word, and that's that! Hah! Little did I know.