Marino requests combat ship be named after Williamsport
U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Cogan Station, has asked that a Navy combat ship be named after the city of Williamsport.
In a letter hand-delivered by Marino to U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus this week, the congressman argued that Williamsport qualifies to be considered in the naming of one of the Navy's littoral combat ships, which are named after regionally important U.S. cities or communities.
"I also mailed a copy of the letter to his offices, but I thought delivering it myself would add a personal touch and demonstrate how important it is that he consider naming one of our new Navy ships after one of the most storied and important cities in Pennsylvania," Marino said.
In his request, Marino relayed the history of the city's founding and invoked its unique past as a thriving location for the industry.
"Williamsport was known as the 'Lumber Capitol of the World' in the 1800s when its daily output far surpassed anywhere else in the world," Marino wrote in the letter, a copy of which was provided to the Sun-Gazette. "Timber that was harvested and processed in the Williamsport area was used in the construction of early U.S. Navy ships, and is therefore an undeniable component of our rich and successful naval history."
He also appealed to Mabus's love of baseball by emphasizing that Williamsport is the birthplace of Little League Baseball. Mabus in 2010 named a combat ship after Cooperstown, New York, which is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
"Having thrown out the first pitch at 24 major league stadiums, and a fan of the Boston Red Sox, you know how important baseball is to Americans of all ages across this country," the letter reads. "The game inspires, teaches, and brings us together - Williamsport has been crucial in keeping that tradition alive."
The combat ships are designated as littoral, meaning "near-shore," because that is where they operate. They are known for being small and agile. The first of its kind was commissioned in 2008.
"I believe it would be a great honor to those Marines and sailors of Pennsylvania by naming a LCS after the great city of Williamsport," Marino said.