Chair Force Engineer

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Name Game

While a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, people get emotionally attached to names. Sometimes they are the names of Air Force installations, and other times they are the names of multimillion-dollar fighter jets.

In a particularly poignant example, Rep. Ed Case (D-HI) is upset that Onizuka Air Force Station is being closed down under the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. I agree with Rep. Case that the late Challenger astronaut should continue to be memorialized. Rep. Case thinks that a military facility in Hawaii should be renamed to carry on Ellison Onizuka's memory. The Air Force's Maui Optical and Supercomputing site fits that bill very nicely. Ellison Onizuka would probably feel honored by this appropriate name change if it goes through.

At the same time, I'm very disappointed that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be called Lightning II. Wasn't that the YF-22's unofficial name? It also appeals only to the Air Force, as it recalls the Army Air Force's P-38 Lightning from World War II. I would have preferred something that was service-neutral, like Condor or Ghost Hawk. Guess I will have to live with it (unless it falls to the wayside, like Lockheed's ill-conceived name of SuperStar for the F-22.)