Those of us that have followed the history of USS America CVA-66 have often heard the tale that the Late President John F. Kennedy specifically asked that CVA-66 be named America, however, no one to our knowledge has been able to document this fact. Recently the Kennedy Library (http://www.jfklibrary.org/) located in Boston Massachusetts released their online archive of President Kennedy’s important papers and records generated during his 1000 days in office. Researching the online archive has allowed us for the first time to confirm this long heard tale that USS America CVA-66 was personally named by JFK! The name suggested for CVA-66 before JFK’s input; USS CONGRESS!
Other documents include a listing of suggested ships names, requests from a Senate member and other individuals for the selection of USS Williamsburg as the ships name and even a paragraph in a document confirming the selection of USS Constellation to be home ported in San Diego that USS America was expected to replace the Essex Class carrier USS Hancock home ported in Alameda California.
Many thanks to USS America shipmate Scot Celley for researching and locating these documents which are provided here courtesy of the Kennedy Library. If you wish to see documents directly through the Kennedy Library, the original search link can be accessed here (scroll down quite a few documents): http://www.facebook.com/l/47d43ss6Hu44NqPyj13twpDv7CA;www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKPOF-084-013.aspx
Special thanks to Tom Trujillo for helping put this together. Visit Naming the CVA66 to view the letters.
The links below are images of correspondence surrounding the naming of the CVA 66. The correspondence is on file at the Kennedy Library. The USS America CVA would like to thank Scott Celley for his assistance in producing these images.