warship named for N.J. is launched
dreadnaught slides down ways at Phila. Navy Yard
Mrs. Chas. Edison christens craft
New Jersey, heaviest battleship ever built and fast enough to
operate with a speedy task force, was launched today at the Philadelphia
Navy Yard on the first anniversary of Japan's sneak attack on
The $100,000,000 super-dreadnaught was one
of 12 Navy vessels which slid down the ways at East Coast shipyards
today, to join the rapidly growing American global fleet. An
airplane carrier and four other fighting craft were launched
in New England shipyards and six minesweepers and a destroyer
tender took to the water at Tampa, Fla.
The New Jersey was christened by Mrs. Carolyn
Edison, wife of the governor, with a bottle of champagne made
in this state, 24 hours after the aircraft carrier Belleau Wood
slid down the ways at the New York Shipyard, and a day in advance
of the launching of the heavy cruiser Miami at Cramp's Shipyard.
These answers to the Axis were bolstered by
the launching of a minesweeper at the Mathis Shipyard Saturday,
a merchant marine cargo ship at the Penn-Jersey Shipyard this
afternoon, and a destroyer in the yards of the Federal Shipbuilding
and Dry Dock Co., Kearny.
As in the case of the Belleau Wood, only the
personnel of the shipyard and a handful of sponsoring guests
witnessed the christening of the New Jersey.
The New Jersey and its sister ship, the Iowa,
launched Aug. 27 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard are the first of a
new class of super battleships. Her strength is a naval secret,
but it has been announced she will carry greater antiaircraft
batteries and armor than the battleships of World War I design
which were blasted by Jap airplanes at Pearl Harbor.
Governor Edison laid the ship's keel on Sept.
16, 1940, while he was Assistant Secretary of Navy.
Speaking at the brief ceremony this afternoon,
"As this great ship is ready to start
down the ways, there comes to the heart of all true Jerseymen
a feeling of reverence and pride. She will be New Jersey's representative
in the fleet and we know she will give a good account of herself.
"It was my good fortune to be Assistant
Secretary of the Navy when her building was authorized in 1939
and it was then that President Roosevelt named her the New Jersey.
"On Sept. 16, 1940, I was here at the
ceremonies that attended the laying of her keel. At that time
it was thought that four years would be needed for her building.
Now, in a little more than two years, she is ready to be launched.
Today, as governor of New Jersey, I feel doubly fortunate and
unusually honored to be present at her launching.
"In the 27 months she has been on these
ways, thousands and thousands of Jerseymen have been among the
workers at this great Philadelphia Navy Yard and many of them
have had a personal part in her construction. They have watched
her progress with particular pride. They know that the largest
and most powerful man-o'-war in the world today is named for
their commonwealth, and those of us who have had something directly
to do with her are today especially happy.
"All the citizens of the great industrial
and shipbuilding state of New Jersey will follow her future career
with the keenest interest. We are delighted that in just a short
time she will be ready to join the fleet. Since there are thousands
of men from New Jersey now in the Navy, I am certain that men
from our state will be aboard when she puts out to sea... to
prove to our enemies that man for man and ship for ship ours
is the greatest Navy in the world."
Undersecretary of the Navy Forrestal, speaking
at the launching, said the New Jersey "will be commissioned
within the next five months."
"The building record of the New Jersey
emphasizes the speed with which this nation has undertaken a
task never before equalled in the history of any other country,"
Forrestal said battleships in combination
with aircraft, submarines, cruisers and destroyers provide the
"final striking power of our surface forces."
Launching of the New Jersey, he added, marks
another step in America's campaign to "dominate the two
oceans that wash our shores" in order to "guarantee
the freedom of those oceans to all nations."
It took 64 distinct operations, the first
of which was started 24 hours ago, to launch the tremendous battleship,
which slipped smoothly across 100,000 pounds of heavy grease
into the water while the Navy Yard band played "The Star
With the incoming tide reaching its peak ahead
of schedule, the New Jersey was launched in the midst of an address
by Rear Admiral Milo Draemel, commandant of the yard.
Forrestal cautioned against over of speculation
about the length of this struggle," he commented. "Hope
rises fast on the wings of victory, but I see no sign of an early
conclusion and it seems to me to be extremely dangerous to indulge
ourselves in such speculation.
"The war will be over when the German
armies in the field are broken, when the blind and Daemonic fury
of the Japanese millions is unable longer to keep their army
and their navy in being."
In conclusion, Forrestal urged that the United
States not make the same mistake after this war that we made
22 years ago when "after having become a great seapower,
we deliberately and voluntarily abdicated that power."
"We have built and are building a great
Navy. I urge upon you and the nation most solemnly that having
built it we never will repeat the grim and tragic mistake of
22 years ago.
"The Germans when they scuttled their
fleet at Scapa Flow at least did it to keep their forces from
falling to the hands of an enemy. We did ours at home in our
waters in the face of all that history had taught and all that
wisdom should have foreseen."
The New Jersey's completion date, as announced
prior to the war, was May 1, 1944. But progress on her is such
that she will be completed many months ahead of schedule.
New Jersey is Fast
Official Navy figures and data on the speed,
tonnage, design, batteries and armor of the New Jersey are a
wartime secret. But Janes Fighting Ships, in its unofficial information,
states that she has a length of 880 feet, a beam of approximately
108 feet, is approximately 52,000 tons displacement at full load,
makes "over 30 knots," and has a main battery swinging
nine 16-inch guns.
Her speed will be highly adequate for her
to operate with fast task forces of aircraft carriers, cruisers
and destroyers. Most U.S. battleships now in service date back
to the first World War design, and are too slow for such operations.
Each of the New Jersey's massive anchors weighs
more than an Army light tank. Her armor conceals 250 miles of
electric cables and 80 miles of pipe. There are 800 miles of
welding along her seams. Her electric generators can handle the
equivalent of the industrial and domestic load of a city of about
The Miami will be the first of the big warships
launched by Cramp's since the yards were reopened two years ago
after having been closed since 1927.
The launching of the Belleau Wood yesterday
was a 15-minute affair, witnessed by only 300 persons while thousands
of workers toiled nearby constructing other ships for future
The Belleau Wood honors the Marines for their
historic World War I battle in France. It was converted from
a cruiser under construction. She is the third carrier launched
at the New York Shipyard in 15 weeks. The others are the Princeton
and the Independence.
Mrs. Thomas Holcomb, wife of the lieutenant
general commandant of the Marine Corps, was the carrier's sponsor.
She was attended by Mrs. A.R. Randall, wife of the colonel commanding
the Marine barracks at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Honored guest at the launching was a future
member of her crew. He is Harold J. Fox, 44, who, as a second
class quartermaster on the destroyer Wickes, convoyed Marines
to France in the last war. His destroyer made 26 round trips
and never lost a transport. Between World War I and Pearl Harbor
he was an auto salesman.
Other guests included Lieut. Gen. Holcomb,
one of the heroes of Belleau Wood; Rear Admiral R. W. Ryden,
Navy supervisor of shipbuilding for the Camden area, and Mrs.
Ryden; Rear Admiral Thomas Richey, of the Norfolk Navy Yard.
The cargo ship William Lester, built for the
U.S. Maritime Commission, went down the ways at the Penn-Jersey
Shipyard this afternoon. At 1:25 p.m., the hour when Japan struck
at Pearl Harbor, all work ceased for two minutes in memory of
the men who died in the attack.
The launching at the Mathis Shipyard, Saturday,
saw the minesweeper Swift glide into the Delaware, sponsored
by Mrs. Joseph E. Sheedy, wife of the company's president.
Two $3,000,000 oil tankers were launched today
at the yards of the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Chester.
The SS Newtown slid down the ways after its
christening by Mrs. Susan H. McLachlan, Chester, who husband
works in the shipyard's drafting department. Ten minutes later
the SS Vincennes was launched. It was sponsored by Mrs. Alice
V. Nelson, Chester, who husband is an assistant foreman.
At the Kearny shipyard the destroyer Sigsbee
was launched today. The warship is named for the commanding officer
of the battleship Maine, sunk in Havana harbor on Feb. 15, 1898,
starting the Spanish-American War.
The sponsor was Mrs. Anton O. Fischer, of
Woodstock, N.Y., daughter of the late Rear Admiral Charles Dwight
The 25,000-ton carrier Bunker Hill, sister
ship to the new Lexington, slid down the ways at the Fore River
Ship Yards, Mass., sponsored by Mrs. Donald S. Boynton, Chicago,
wife of a Great Lakes shipping executive.
The destroyer Thatcher was launched at the
Bath Iron Works in Maine, christened by Charlotte L. Hyde of
Hollywood, Calif. Miss Hyde is the great-great-grandniece of
Rear Admiral Henry Knox Thatcher for whom the vessel was named.
The Charlestown Navy Yard launched three ships
- two escort vessels and a "special" ship. The escort
craft were completed in 52 days, three weeks ahead of schedule.
A fifth launching took place at Camden, Me.,
when a coastal transport was put into the water.
Tampa's answer to the Pearl Harbor attack
was the launching of seven warships and the commissioning of
a Navy recruiting station.
Six minesweepers and a destroyer tender slid
down the ways at the Tampa Shipbuilding Co. in a daylong program.
The public was permitted to look on for the first time while
the nation is at war.
Mrs. Elizabeth D. Kauffman, wife of Rear Admiral
J.L. Kauffman, "sub busting" commander of the Gulf
Sea frontier and commandant of the Seventh Naval District, will
participate in the climaxing event of the Seventh Naval District,
participated in the climaxing event of the day when she sponsored
the launching of the U.S.S. Piedmont, destroyer tender, the largest,
fastest and heaviest ship ever launched in the Gulf of Mexico.