Jimmy Carter has a wish come true. The Navy is naming its newest, most powerful submarine the USS Jimmy Carter, honoring a young submariner who became the 39th president of the United States.

And with a trademark toothy grin, the honoree said the Navy had done exactly what he would have wished in giving his name to a sub, also designated SSN 23."If I had a choice between a submarine and an airport, I would choose a submarine," he said. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was recently named for the nation's 40th president, the man who defeated Carter in 1980.

Carter called the naming ceremony "one of my proud-est days" and added: "I don't see anything incompatible between serving in the military forces of the United States and preserving peace on earth."

The 353-foot Seawolf-class sub is under construction by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics. It is scheduled to join the fleet in 2001.