[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[February 2, 1995]
[Pages 154-155]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]



Statement on Naming Aircraft Carriers for Presidents Truman and Reagan
February 2, 1995

    Today I approved Secretary of the Navy John Dalton's recommendation 
to name CVN-75 and CVN-76, Nimitz-class aircraft carriers currently 
authorized for construction, the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman and U.S.S. 
Ronald Reagan, respectively. Protecting our Nation's security--our 
people, our territory, and our way of life--is a President's foremost 
constitutional duty. It is therefore most appropriate to name two great 
warships after two former Presidents who exemplified the ideals of 
patriotism, camaraderie, and courage found in the service men and women 
they led as they discharged their highest duty.
    Our military today is the best equipped, best trained, and best 
prepared fighting force in the world. These two aircraft carriers 
represent my pledge to ensure our security is underpinned with military 
forces that are ready to fight. But our Nation can only address this 
era's dangers and opportunities if we remain actively engaged in the 
world. The two Presidents we honor today knew that there is no security 
for America in isolationism, no prosperity in protectionism. They worked 
with a Congress led by the other party in order to foster the broad, 
bipartisan understanding and support necessary to sustain U.S. 
international engagement.
    As President Truman said, ``We face a clear-cut choice between two 
courses of action. We can either isolate ourselves from the rest of the 
world, or we can take constructive steps to build lasting world peace.'' 
And that is exactly the same challenge we take up today. It is therefore 
most appropriate to name CVN-75 in honor of the President who 
courageously led us out of the Second World War and prepared us to win 
the peace through international engagement. It was the courage and 
wisdom of President Truman's decisions which provided the foundation for 
40 years of peace and stability throughout the cold war.
    I also find it most fitting to name CVN-76 in honor of President 
Ronald Reagan, an American leader unsurpassed in his boundless 
patriotism and love for the Armed Forces and someone who still inspires 
us with his courage and grace. As I said in my State of the Union 
Address, Ronald Reagan exhorted us to carry on until

[[Page 155]]

the twilight struggle against communism was won.
    It is because of their enduring contributions in protecting our 
Nation's security that we honor these two Presidents of different 
parties and different times. These two aircraft carriers will bear their 
names overseas as an instrument of power behind our determined 
diplomacy. Once again, the names Truman and Reagan will lend themselves 
in pursuit of our national security in an effort to secure the peace 
they won during the cold war. Together, they will join the finest forces 
this Nation has ever known.