United States Navy via Wikimedia Commons

The United States Navy has decided to rename one of its oceanographic survey ships, USNS Maury, to USNS Marie Tharp, in honor of the pioneering geologist and oceanographic cartographer. The previous ship was named after Matthew Fontaine Maury, who served in the Confederate navy during the Civil War, and the decision to rename it is part of a wider effort to remove Confederate references from military assets.

Marie Tharp, who was the first person to create scientific maps of the Atlantic Ocean, worked at the Lamont Geological Observatory and collaborated with Bruce Heezen to create maps of the Atlantic using depth measurements recorded by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute research vessel Atlantis. During the mapping process, Tharp discovered evidence of continental drift, which was later used to help develop the Plate Tectonic Theory.

The Navy has stated that the renaming process will have little effect on the crew of the ship, which is currently assigned to the Military Sealift Command in the Persian Gulf. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro has emphasized the importance of recognizing figures who have positively influenced society, adding that the renaming honors one of the many historic women who have made significant contributions to the Navy and the nation.

USNS Maury is the second ship to be renamed by the Navy after a recommendation by the Naming Commission. The former USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) is also being renamed after Robert Smalls, a former slave and mariner who stole a Confederate ship and delivered it to the United States during the Civil War.

The Navy’s decision to rename the ship and remove Confederate references from military assets is part of a wider effort to recognize and honor those who have positively influenced society. The renaming of the ship to Marie Tharp is a tribute to her pioneering work in oceanography and cartography.


  1. Let’s see if we can change history by renaming ships! When you have a biological male admiral, masquerading as a female in a skirt, does it matter? So dead confederates are bad, but transgender admirals are good? Welcome to the new armed forces! I’m a US Navy veteran,1968-72, and this administration makes me SICK.

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