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Navy Ship Gets Labor Leader’s Name

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Aired 5/18/11

The Navy Secretary made it official Wednesday, the last in a line of massive new cargo ships will carry the name Cesar Chavez. The news was heralded by the people building the ship in San Diego.

60 percent of NASSCO's San Diego work force is latino and the shipyard is nestled on the fringe of Barrio Logan. Cesar's son Paul Chavez was on hand for the announcement and he got rock star treatment. Pictures, autographs and lots of handshakes.

"They've come to this country with hopes that a new land brings," said Chavez. "They've patriotically served their country and they've worked hard to build it and so yeah when you sit out there and look I see my father's face out there in the crowd today."

Chavez said says the honor is a testament to his father's persistence, and is fitting for a man who coined the rallying cry "Si Se Puede."

Paul Chavez stands in front of a picture of his father, Cesar. The newest cargo ship being built at NAASCO will be named the USNS Cesar Chavez after the late civil rights leader.
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Above: Paul Chavez stands in front of a picture of his father, Cesar. The newest cargo ship being built at NAASCO will be named the USNS Cesar Chavez after the late civil rights leader.

It was also an important day for workers making a better life for their families. Juan Mandujano is a supervisor at NASSCO. He says many people on his crew were born in Mexico.

"Half of my crew comes from Mexicali. Some of those workers before they became shipbuilders and welders and fitters, they actually worked in the fields down in Calexico," said Mandujano.

The naming got an unusual burst of attention this week, because Congressman Duncan Hunter said other latino war heroes might be more deserving. Hunter singled out Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta, who was nominated for the Medal of Honor for action in Iraq. He called the Chavez naming a political decision. Other lawmakers, such as Democrats Susan Davis and Barbara Boxer, have come out in support of the naming.

Comments

Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | May 19, 2011 at 5:21 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Maybe they should name the ship Duncan Donuts?

Who cares? We have more important issues than to argue over the name of a ship. Duncan should be focused on the economy, affordable healthcare, careers vs. jobs, the high-price of gas. What the hell is wrong with him?

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Avatar for user 'Speedy123'

Speedy123 | May 19, 2011 at 9:24 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

you think Barbara Boxer would hesitate to jump on board this one?? Anything that has to do with pandering to the Latino community and Ms. Boxer is right there in the front. Mr. Chavez was against violence so I find it amusing that in their fervent political pandering, the Obama administration didn't even think with a national holiday and several buildings all over the country, perhaps somebody else might be more fitting?? What was I thinking -- Obama was too busy trying to figure out how to ask Israel to give up its country.

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