New US Navy ship must be named for Amelia Earhart sign now

From: Dobrovolskogo Str. b. 126 ap. 117 Odessa, 65111, Ukraine

To: The Honorable Donald C. Winter
Secretary of the U.S. Navy
Navy Pentagon 1000
Washington, D.C. USA

Dear Mr. Secretary,
By way of introduction, I am a citizen of Ukraine, serving as a physics professor in Odessa. For many years I have been a student of navies, with much emphasis on the U.S. Navy. I am a member of the U.S. Naval Institute and the Association of Naval Aviation. I read their publications and have established communications with a couple of your Navy's senior retired officers, one of them being Vice Admiral G.E. (Jerry) Miller, former commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet. I have written two books about early U.S. Navy battleships. My father was a commissioned officer in the Soviet Navy during the early 1970s, serving in the Mediterranean along with the U.S. Sixth Fleet. I might be termed a naval aficionado.

During my study of leaders in aviation, I have become fascinated with the accomplishments of Amelia Earhart. I have been so impressed with her role in aviation history that I am writing to recommend that the U.S. Navy once again name a vessel after this undeniably great American and former world ambassador.
A ship bearing her name already served for the US Navy as a military transport in 1942 (Liberty class). This ship served until the end of World War II. No ship now exists being her name. Several of my associates and I believe it is time to honor her once again.
I note that a similar recommendation was made by Commander Darlene Iskra, USN (Retired), in the March 2004 issue of Proceedings magazine, published by the U.S. Naval Institute.

As I see it, there are several potential benefits to the Navy and the United States from such action since Ms Earhart was much beloved throughout the world. The presence of her name on a naval vessel would not only serve to encourage those who would proudly serve in the ship, but the ship itself would be an excellent emissary as she sailed around the world, proudly displaying the U.S. flag while bringing to the forefront, a name of international fame and recognition. Such presence should add to the favorable image of the United States as your navy and nation go about the business of working for world peace and stability.

Amelia's own life motto was: "Courage is the Price that Life Exacts for Granting Peace." This motto has never lost its meaning, and in today's complex and difficult world, it could shine as a beacon of hope and determination.

Following is some biographical information about this most illustrious woman of the 20th century. Most will remember that Amelia Earhart was a magnificent pioneer in the world of aviation, who set many firsts: first woman to fly the Atlantic as a passenger (1928); first woman to fly the Atlantic solo (1932), making her the first person in the world to have crossed it by air twice; altitude records and new aviation equipment (autogiro - helicopter prototype) (1931); first person, male or female, to fly from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland solo (1935); first person to fly non-stop from Mexico City to Newark, N.J. (1935); and finally, the first person to attempt an around the world flight at the equator (1937).

Some of the lesser-known accomplishments of this courageous person are equally impressive: volunteered for hospital service in Canada during World War I before the United States became involved (1918); served as a social worker in Boston with underprivileged youth, while teaching English to the immigrant parents of these youths, allowing them to assimilate better into society (1928); founder and the first President of the major female pilot's association still in existence today - The Ninety-Nines (99's) (1929); tireless lecturer on behalf of the fledgling aviation industry (1929 - 1937); aviation editor of Cosmopolitan magazine (1930's); author of books promoting the aviation industry: 20Hrs and 40 Minutes, The Fun of It, and Last Flight.
In addition, she was a member of the staff at Purdue University in Indiana, counseling the lives of the women enrolled at that time (1935-1937).

As shown throughout her life, Amelia Earhart opened many new horizons, both in aviation and in American culture. She was one of very few people who can be named as a founder of modern aviation as we know it today - someone who helped shape and determine the direction of modern civilization. Her personal contribution to this process cannot be overestimated, as she bravely risked her life many times in her amazing record flights, to demonstrate and prove the possibilities and potential of the young aviation industry, including organizing and managing some early commercial airlines in the United States.

Amelia Earhart possessed a charisma that shines to this day. She was a person with outstanding personal qualities and integrity - hallmarks of a great American. She was patriotic, educated, intelligent, honest, brave, modest and cordial - one of the great heroes of the last century. Her name remains to this day, a reminder of greatness, perseverance and courage - all the traits that I consider appropriate when I think of the Navy.

Amelia in her day was an American icon. She helped to bring the American drive, determination and courage to a pre-World War II world, and she was loved wherever she went. In all the countries into which she flew, or just visited, she was an American "Ambassador of Goodwill." She was the pride of her nation and still deserves this position and fame today.

Amelia Earhart believed in world peace strongly but understood the need for a strong U.S. military to provide for and protect this peace. She was a friend of the Navy, actively cooperating with the Navy many times and in different ways during her illustrious aviation career. In 1935 she was a first woman to lecture at the U.S. Naval Academy, and she returned there with another speech to midshipmen in 1936. One of the Navy's own, Rear Admiral Ernest E. Tissot, USN (Retired), came to know what a wonderful person Amelia was, through his beloved father, her trusted and noted mechanic on her historic Hawaii to California flight in 1935.

While it was unfortunate that she didn't complete her ultimate dream - a flight around the world - her journey served mankind. It was after her tragic loss that the Greenwich Mean Time standards were adopted so that there would never be a question as to what time zone was being referenced during flight - a contributing factor to her disappearance in 1937 over the vast spaces of the Pacific.

Before her last flight, Amelia Earhart noted: "Women must try to do things, as men have tried. When they fail their failure must be but a challenge to others." Now, thousands of American women serve in the Navy and many in naval aviation. It seems obvious it would be a great inspiration for them to serve on a modern U.S. ship named for the pioneer who paved the way so many years ago.
There are several relatives of Amelia Earhart alive today. One of them could serve as a "sponsor" in the christening of the new ship, thereby demonstrating a continuous tie of the past with the future, proving in a changing world that basic American values are firm, constant and committed towards the next generation.

On a personal note, Amelia Earhart was to me what Christopher Columbus was for America. She opened my eyes to the goodness that is to be found in the American people. The strength, courage and determination to do what is right and good in this world were all demonstrated daily by this wonderful person.
So I await your response from the great American Navy on my recommendation to add the name Amelia Earhart to the stern of one of the newest members of the U.S. Navy fleet!

Oleksandr V. Mandel, Ph.D

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