The Christening and Launching

In the name of the United States I christen thee _____________________," proclaims the sponsor while she shatters the ceremonial bottle of champagne against the gleaming bow of a new ship towering above her. As if the sponsor's very words have injected a spark of life, the ship begins to move slowly from the security of the building way to the water environment where she will play her destined role for the defense of the United States.

When a woman accepts the Secretary of the Navy's invitation to sponsor a new ship, she has agreed to stand as the central figure in an event with a heritage reaching backward into the dim recesses of recorded history. Just as the passage of years has witnessed momentous changes in ships, so also has the christening-launching ceremony we know today evolved from earlier practices. Nevertheless, the tradition, meaning, and spiritual overtones remain constant. The vast size, power, and unpredictability of the sea must certainly have awed the first sailors to venture far from shore. Instinctively, they would seek divine protection for themselves and their craft from the capricious nature of wind and water.

The first description we have of an American warship christening is that of Constitution, famous "Old Ironsides," at Boston, 21 October 1797. Her sponsor, Captain James Sever, USN, stood on the weather deck at the bow. "At fifteen minutes after twelve she commenced a movement into the water with such steadiness, majesty and exactness as to fill every heart with sensations of joy and delight." As Constitution ran out, Captain Sever broke a bottle of fine old Madeira over the heel of the bowsprit. 
24 May 1969 - Up until the time of christening, the ship was called Hull# 1156. The Ship's sponsor was Mrs. Charlotte Brooks the wife of  Congressman Jack Brooks of Texas, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel.  Congressman Brooks served in Congress from 1953-1995.  
24 May 1969 - from the left, Mrs. Charlotte Brooks the Ship's Sponsor and  Mrs. John Young her Matron of Honor.  Mrs. John Young  was the Wife of  Congressman John Andrew Young of Texas.  (Below) He served in Congress from 1956 - 1979
23 May 1969 - Ship getting prepared for the Christening Ceremony
24 May 1969 - Mrs. Charlotte Brooks posing with the bottle of champagne used to christen the ship.
24 May 1969 -  A Ship is born.  Mrs. Charlotte Brooks breaks the ceremonial bottle of champagne on the Ship now kown as the U.S.S. Inchon LPH-12
24 May 1969 -The USS Inchon LPH-12 is moving down the ways for it's taste of water.  

Click on picture to see the Inchon's Sea Trials …..