Navy vessel naming is more a process of tradition than of legislation. The Secretary of the Navy decides the final names of new vessels but vessel name recommendations are influenced by such factors as:
- Name categories for vessel types now being built, as approved by the Secretary of the Navy
- Distribution of geographic names of vessels of the Fleet
- Names borne by previous vessels that distinguished themselves in service;
- Names recommended by individuals and groups
- Names of naval leaders, national figures, and deceased members of the Navy and Marine Corps who have been honored for heroism in war or for extraordinary achievement in peace.
On 13 October 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the first ship of a new navy for the United Colonies, as they were then known. The ships of the Continental Navy, and of the Navy later established under the Federal Constitution, were not named in any strictly categorical manner.
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