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Virginia close to getting US Navy license plate

A retired Navy captain led the effort to get the license plate since 2017 succeeded in surpassing the 450 pre-orders required by the DMV.

NORFOLK, Va. — Drivers in Virginia have around 300 unique, custom specialty license plates they can choose from to adorn their cars.

Jimmy Buffett "Parrot Heads", the Shriners, and even fans of late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt all have custom license plates.

But somehow a U.S Navy plate isn't among them.

However, after a lot of hard work, it appears that will soon change.

It's not quite mission accomplished yet, but the four-year-long quest to get U.S. Navy license plates on Virginia's highway is one very important step closer to reality.

The key first step was gathering 450 signatures for pre-orders as required by the Department of Motor Vehicles regulations and state law. As of Monday, Navy Plate Virginia has succeeded in acquiring 455.

"When number 450 came through it was like, 'Wow, finally!'" said retired Navy Captain-pharmacist Roger Hirsh. He, along with and his wife Chris, has been leading the charge since 2017.

Given how big a role the Navy plays in Hampton Roads and the state of Virginia, you'd think that this would've happened long before now.

"It's been sort of a universal discussion, you know? 'What, I can't believe you don't have a Navy plate,'" said Hirsh. "And then, the second point is, 'How hard can that be? There's so many Navy.'"

It was hard, but now, it's up to the Virginia General Assembly. The chief patrol on the enacting piece of legislation will be State Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach).

"We see Army plates, Air Force plates, lots of different football teams, and a variety of special interests... but no Navy plates," she said. "So, it's amazing that we have not had one yet."

It all goes to a good cause.

For each of the revenue-sharing plates sold, the DMV will return $15 of every $25 collected annually to the non-profit Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, which provides emergency financial assistance to active-duty and retired personnel and their families.

Even though he's passed the needed number, Hirsh said he's going to keep collecting pre-orders through next Spring.