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I Christen Thee Missouri…

by Nov 30, 2019

Miss Jane Tunstall Lingo, Sponsor Miss Mary Margaret Truman and the Honorable Harry S. Truman, Senator from Missouri, at the launching of Battleship Missouri at Brooklyn’s New York Naval Shipyard, January 29, 1944.

“Today is the Day She Leaves Ways!” reads the headline for lead story of the January 29, 1944 issue of the New York Navy Yard Shipworker newsletter.

The story continues:

“Scores of Thousands of New York Navy Yard workers will fill a tingle of pride run up and down their backbone today when the mighty battleship Missouri hits the waters of the East River for the first time.”

Rear Admiral Kelly, Commandant of the Navy Yard, and Rear Admiral Kennedy, General Manager of the Yard, stand by for Sponsor Mary Margaret Truman’s christening of the battleship Missouri, while her father, Senator, later President, Harry S. Truman, looks on.

“Simple and brief ceremonies attend the launching of the Missouri today, although the event means much to all Americans and to the United Nations especially, since we expect to have her seeking out the enemy and finding him nine months ahead of schedule. Wartime restrictions plus the desire to avoid interference with other vital work in the yard have limited witnesses to yard workers, naval personnel and a few distinguished guests. The President of the United States is unable to attend, because of the pressure of official affairs. Like the President, Vice President Henry A. Wallace and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox were unable to accept invitations.”

“The P.A. System will broadcast to all parts of the yard brief talks by Admiral E. J. King, USN, Commander in Chief, US Fleet, Rear Admiral Monroe Kelly, USN, Commandant, and Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri. Two national networks and several local stations will describe the proceedings to the American people.

Sponsor of the ship, the eighty-fifth to be launched at this yard, is Miss Mary Margaret Truman. At approximately 1:10 PM, Miss Truman will say, in traditional fashion, “I christen thee Missouri. May God guard the Missouri and all who sail in her.”

Ceremonial champagne bottle cover used in christening of Missouri, in wooden case.

And then, with champagne flying and the Navy Yard band playing “Anchors Aweigh”, the Missouri will move down the ways, and the world will know of another great stride taken by Americans in building their offensive strength.”

The champagne flies as sponsor Mary Margaret Truman christens the battleship Missouri at Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, on January 29, 1944

The inscription on the bottle cover reads:

“ U.S.S. Missouri


Navy Yard New York

January 29, 1944


Miss Mary Margaret Truman

Daughter of

Honorable Harry S. Truman

United States Senator from


Mary Margaret Truman and Jane Tunstall lingo were roommates while attending George Washington University.

GW University Relations Photograph Collection; Cherry Tree yearbook, 1946.