USS Bowfin (SS-287) Souvenir Launching Ribbon.

#HiddenHistory: Bowfin's Launching Ribbon

Bowfin Museum

Pictured is a souvenir ribbon for the launching of the USS Bowfin (SS-287) from the Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard on July 23, 1942. She was launched December 7, 1942 by Mrs. Jane Gawne, wife of Captain James Gawne  and commissioned on May 1, 1943 by Commander Joseph H. Willingham. 

Historically, ships were “christened” by the pouring or breaking of a bottle of alcohol over the bow. This is also the time when a ship receives her name.

Prior to commissioning, however, the new ship undergoes sea trials during which deficiencies needing correction are uncovered. The preparation and readiness time between christening-launching and commissioning may be as much as three years for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to as brief as twenty days for a World War II landing ship. 

Ribbons like this have historically been popular souvenirs of ceremonies and events.