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Lankford Leads Oklahoma Congressional Delegation to Request US Navy Ship Naming to Honor Oklahoma WWII Sailor

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today led the Oklahoma congressional delegation in a letter to Secretary of the United States Navy Carlos Del Torro to recommend the naming of a new Constellation-class frigate in honor of Oklahoman Paul Henry Carr, from Checotah, Oklahoma, who gave his last full measure of devotion to our nation aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in World War II.

Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Representatives Frank Lucas (R-OK), Tom Cole (R-OK), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Kevin Hern (R-OK), and Josh Brecheen (R-OK) joined Lankford in stating in their letter that this ship naming would be, “a fitting tribute to a true hero and serve as an inspiration for future generations of sailors.”

The full letter is available HERE and below:

Dear Secretary Del Toro,

We write to urge you to consider naming one of the new Constellation-class frigates in honor of Paul Henry Carr, a brave sailor and native son of Checotah, Oklahoma, who valiantly served and sacrificed his life aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in World War II.

Paul Carr was more than just a sailor; he embodied courage and dedication. As the gun captain of the aft 5-inch gun mount, he played a pivotal role. On October 25, 1944, during the Battle off Samar — a key engagement within the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of history’s most significant naval battles that occurred in the Philippines — Carr fought valiantly until his last breath, ensuring his crew and ship had the best possible defense. His valor and commitment were recognized posthumously with the awarding of the Silver Star.

In recognition of Carr’s brave actions, the US Navy commissioned the USS Carr (FFG-52) in 1985. This ship proudly bore his name until its decommissioning in March 2013. It stands as a testament to Carr’s legacy that the recent discovery of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) in the depths of Leyte Gulf includes photos of the aft gun mount, which confirms the tale of his courageous actions and his ultimate sacrifice.

The US Navy has a long-standing tradition of naming ships after naval leaders, heroes, and significant figures. Given Paul Carr’s notable service and the impact of his sacrifice, it seems fitting to immortalize his name on one of the new frigates. While the naming of the first four ships in the Constellation-class — Constellation (FFG-62), Congress (FFG-63), Chesapeake (FFG-64), and Lafayette (FFG-65) — don’t provide a clear naming convention for the class, we urge the consideration of historic Navy figures like Paul Henry Carr. With a total of 20 Constellation-class frigates planned for procurement, this presents a perfect opportunity to honor Carr’s memory and service once again.

Lastly, we want to emphasize that our strong advocacy for naming a ship after Carr does not diminish our respect or endorsement of other potential names being considered. With a fleet of 20 frigates, there is ample opportunity to recognize numerous deserving individuals.

We humbly urge you to consider naming one of the new Constellation-class frigates in honor of the gallant Paul Henry Carr. We genuinely believe that doing so would be a fitting tribute to a true hero and serve as an inspiration for future generations of sailors.

Thank you for your consideration of our request.

Sincerely

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