Launching – June 13, 1940
“I definitely have a memory of attending the launching of the Battleship in June 1940 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard when I was eight years old. I recall a clear day with bright sun bathing the starboard side of the hull resting on the slipway where my parents and I stood about midway down the vessel’s endless length. She rested on a forest of wooden supports about a foot square and four feet long. Workmen were knocking some of them out. The slipway was covered with a carpet of grease, yellow-orange in color, three to four inches thick. The dull red lower hull bulged out and then in again to where it met the thin black waterline. Above that the smooth gray hull stretched to the sky. Ceremonies were going on at the bow, out of sight to me.
A worker with a sledgehammer stood next to each of the remaining wooden supports and when a great shout went up each of them knocked out his block and the hull began to slide toward the water at my left. As it picked up speed the grease seemed to start smoking. As the bow went past we could see the anchor chain being picked up and pulled along. That would stop the ship someone said. Just before we left I was hoisted up onto the slipway and told to stand on one of the wooden blocks, now lying flat, while a picture was being taken. It was a big step up for an eight year old.”
Herbert Turkington who attended the ceremony
“Mud boiled from the bottom of the Wallabout Basin yesterday; tugboat captains in the East River held down their whistles and 50,000 persons cheered as the battleship North Carolina slid down greased ways at the navy yard in Brooklyn to her first taste of the salt. The 35,000 ton ship-newest and greatest of the world’s ships of the battle line-was only about 75 percent completed as to hull, less than that as to machinery, at her launching, and it will require more than a year to complete her. But there was grace in her long lines and a tremendous impression of strength in the huge bulk of her…. There are many innovations in her construction-most of them closely guarded naval secrets.”
New York Times, June 14, 1940