Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Christening, Launching, and Commissioning in the 21st Century

"Christening, launching, and commissioning are bench marks of abiding importance in the history of a United States Navy ship. One sees in these closely related events a striking parallel to the human experience of those Americans, young and not so young, who man the ships for our nation’s defense on the oceans of the world. If launching may be likened to birth, and christening the endowment of individuality, then at commissioning the ship is at the threshold of a productive and rewarding maturity."
- E.B. Hooper, Vice Admiral, USN (Ret), Director of Naval History

"Christening and launching are the inseparable elements which endow a ship hull with her identity. Yet, just as many developmental milestones must be passed before one takes his place in society, so too must the newly-launched vessel pass such milestones before she is completed and considered ready to be designated a commissioned ship of the United States Navy. The engineering plant, weapon and electronic systems, galley, and multitudinous other equipment required to transform the new hull into an operating and habitable warship are installed and tested. The prospective commanding officer, ship's officers, the petty officers, and seamen who will form the crew report for training and intensive familiarization with their new ship. Crew and ship must function in total unison if full potential and maximum effectiveness are to be realized. The most modern naval vessel embodying every advantage of advanced technology is only as good as those who man her."
 - John C. Reilly Jr., Head, Ships History Branch

Oftentimes, some of mankind’s oldest ideas turn out to be some of his newest and brightest ideas. These two delightful quotations – regarding the commissioning of ships – are taken from a publication of the History Division of the United States Department of the Navy. They speak to the long and storied tradition of ship commissioning that can be traced all the way back to some of our earliest civilizations and societies.