(NewsReady.com) – The Civil War tore the country apart and left hundreds of thousands of Americans dead. In the decades after the conflict, many military bases, towns, and even Navy ships were named after people who were connected to the Confederate Army. In recent years, there’s been a movement to reverse that, at least as far as government property. The US Navy is renaming a ship for that reason.
On March 8, the Navy Times reported the military branch is renaming the oceanographic survey ship previously named for Matthew Fontaine Maury. He was a Naval officer who joined the Confederate Navy during the war between the states. He served the enemy force as an agent in London, England.
Maury remained in England for several years after the war but eventually moved back to the US. He got a job at Virginia Military Institute and worked as a professor of meteorology. During his lifetime, he was a pioneer in oceanography, which led to his name being placed on Naval ships.
The ship and a building named after him were renamed. The survey ship, which was accepted into the Military Sealift Command fleet in 2016, will now be named after Marie Tharp.
The U.S. Navy is renaming two vessels under a program to rid military installations of Confederate ties.
They will now be named for Robert Smalls, who commandeered a Confederate ship to freedom from slavery, and Marie Tharp, a pioneering ocean geologist. https://t.co/APYq8MnIe8
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 11, 2023
Tharp was an oceanographer and a geologist. She worked at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory beginning in 1948. She and her colleague Bruce Heezen set out to map the floor of the ocean. In 1977, the duo published the first complete map of the world’s ocean floors, revealing mountain ranges, canyons, and other features.
During Tharp’s career, she faced many obstacles because of her gender, but that didn’t stop her from drawing the floor of the ocean. Now, she’s considered one of the most important people in the history of the field. Naming a ship after her is one more step toward creating a lasting memorial of the legacy she forged.
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