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Launch and Christening Medals


What’s better than a lot of broken glass and spilled champagne? As a military medal collector I would say adding another medal to my collection. It is traditional when launching a ship to smash a bottle of bubbly against it’s hull. Fortunately it is also a tradition to issue souvenir medals on such occasions. I don’t know much about this category of medals other than they seem to be rare. I’m also not sure if the terms “Launching” and “Christening” mean the same thing when it comes to ships. In any event I will illustrate the only two such medals I have come across in my years of medal collecting. The first one is for the launch of the USS Tennessee in 1919. The Tenn. earned 10 battle stars during WWII and was sold for scrap 1959, the same year that construction was started on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk which in turn will be decommissioned in 2008.

About Fred Borgmann

Retired from KP after nearly 31 years as new issues editor and the Standard Catalogs.
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3 Responses to Launch and Christening Medals

  1. ron weippert says:

    dear mr. fred borgmann. i found a uss kitty hawk christening medallion like you have pictured in my backyard in maryland when i was a teenager. did they give these medallions to soldiers on the ship or could anyone purchase these? let me know.. thankyou.

  2. Fred Borgmann says:

    I don’t know for sure but I think you had to be there to get one. Fred

  3. I too have a USS Kitty Hawk christening medallion like the one you showed in this post. I got mine when as a young man of 13 years my father took me to the christening ceremony. I was actually there and it seems to me that I actually got on board during that visit. I seem to recollect standing on the deck. My father at the time worked to the Army Quartermasters Depot and I assume that is how he got us in. I don’t have any pictures of that day and I don’t know if my parents have any. They are still alive and since seeing this, I will check and see if they have any photos.

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