This article I have written was supposed to have been on the USS Frankfort, however, imagine my surprise to find that the U.S. Navy has never seen fit to name a ship for the capital city of Kentucky. All of the other state capital cities have had a U.S. Navy ship named for them, but not Frankfort. Missouri’s capital city was recognized by the U.S. Navy with the USS Jefferson City SSN 759; Illinois with USS Springfield CLG 7; Indiana with USS Indianapolis CA 35; Ohio with USS Columbus SSN 762; West Virginia with USS Charleston LCS 18; Virginia with USS Richmond CL 9; and Tennessee with USS Nashville CL 43. One might say that Frankfort has not had a ship named for it due to its small size. However, the capital of South Dakota, Pierre, which is smaller in population than Frankfort, has a ship named for it, USS Pierre LCS 38.

The only Kentucky cities to have had ships named in honor of them are Louisville with three ships — a Civil War gunboat, a World War II cruiser CA 28 and a Cold War submarine SSN 724; Lexington with a Civil War gunboat; Paducah with a turn of the 20th century gunboat PG 18; and Covington with three ships: a Civil War gunboat, a World War I transport ID 1409, and a World War II escort ship, PF 56. There was a USS Ashland LSD 1, but she was named for Henry Clay’s home, Ashland, not the city of Ashland. There was even a USS Harlan County LST 1196.

The littoral combat ship, USS Freedom (LCS 1), was underway conducting sea trials off the coast of Southern California in this photo taken in February 2013. Freedom class ships are currently being built for the U.S. Navy and are being names after American cities. Charles Bogart says, one should be named after Frankfort. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R. Evans | U.S. Navy)

The U.S. Navy has seen fit to name two of our Polaris missile submarines for traitors, USS Robert E. Lee SSBN 601 and USS Stonewall Jackson SSBN 634, plus an oceanography ship, USS (Matthew F.) Maury T-AGS 66. Maury served in the Confederate Navy and spent the Civil War directing mining operations that sank U.S. Navy ships and killed U.S. Navy officers and sailors. The U.S. Navy has even named a cruiser for a U.S. Army battlefield defeat — a defeat in which American soldiers were killed by Confederate troops, USS Chancellorsville CG 62. However, name a ship for Frankfort, no way.

If the U.S. Navy can name ships for traitors and for a battle in which the U.S. Army was defeated, what in the world did Frankfort do that it is not eligible to have a U.S. Navy ship named for it? I have researched Frankfort’s history and cannot find any event that would make Frankfort not eligible to have a ship named for it, but perhaps this event was so dastardly that it was wiped clean from the history books by having all documents relating to it destroyed.

Yet, I am still perplexed by the fact that Frankfort stood by the federal government during the Civil War, while the cities of Galveston, Pensacola, Mobile, Savannah, New Orleans, Memphis, Vicksburg, Charlotte and Newport News, which all proudly flew the Confederate flag and provided men to the Confederate Army, have had U.S. Navy ships named for them. However, loyal Frankfort has not had even a rowboat named for it by the U.S. Navy.

Does any reader of FRANK. magazine know just what the city of Frankfort did in the past that makes it ineligible to have an American warship named for it? If so, please communicate this information to FRANK. magazine.