THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD -- SENATE
JULY 7, 1961
THE LADY AND THE "LEAHY"
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, last Saturday, July 1, I had the pleasure of accompanying our distinguished majority leader, the Senator from Montana [Mr. MANSFIELD] and his gracious lady for the launching of the new guided missile frigate Leahy at the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. Mrs. Mansfield christened the mighty ship, the largest ever built in the Bath yard. The occasion was auspicious and significant for several reasons.
Mrs. Mansfield, in launching the ship, displayed not only her charm and grace, but also exhibited the skill of a veteran launcher. In wielding the christening bottle, she demonstrated a swing which would have done credit to a Mickey Mantle or a Ted Williams.
The Leahy was the 339th hull launched by Bath Iron Works since it first began constructing vessels for the Navy in 1890. Its first contracts were for the gunboats Machias and Castine, part of the Great White Fleet sent around the world by President Theodore Roosevelt. Since that time, Bath Iron Works' vessels have represented the highest quality in Navy construction. Its destroyers have been favorites with generations of naval officers and enlisted men.
During World War II, the Bath Iron Works launched a destroyer every 17 days for 3 years. Its destroyer production totaled more than the destroyer construction of the entire Japanese Empire during the same period. The Bath Iron Works' record demonstrates a facility of incalculable value to the country in maintaining peace on the oceans of the world. It is a vital link in our defense structure. Under the leadership of President John Newell, it is a model of compact efficiency.
July 1 was a most significant day for the launching of a vessel named for Adm. William B. Leahy, the President's Chief of Staff during World War II. Admiral Leahy was a great leader in our Nation's struggle for freedom, and on the day his namesake was launched, Gen. Maxwell Taylor was appointed to a similar post with President Kennedy.
At the launching, we were treated to one of Maine's incomparably beautiful and bracing days. The Senators from Montana [Mr. MANSFIELD and Mr. METCALF] and Representative INOUYE, of Hawaii were treated to the pleasure of a brilliant summer sky on the coast of Maine. Even Representative INOUYE was impressed by the crystal clear air and the beauty of our impressive coastline.
Finally, the occasion was given special meaning by the pertinent and graceful comments of our distinguished majority leader. I ask unanimous consent that the Senator's thoughtful comments on the launching of the Leahy be printed in the RECORD.
There being no objection, the remarks were ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
STATEMENT BY SENATOR MIKE MANSFIELD, DEMOCRAT, OF MONTANA, AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE GUIDED MISSILE FRIGATE "LEAHY,"
BATH, MAINE, JULY 1, 1961
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I have brought a lady here to launch another lady. I can assure you that Mrs. Mansfield is an expert launcher. Many years ago, far from the sea, she launched me on a voyage in politics and Government. So potent was Mrs. Mansfield's effort that I think a bit of the momentum remains despite 20 years in Congress. The Congress of the United States is sometimes a stormy sea. And to Mrs. Mansfield and the influence of her launching, I give full credit for managing to stay afloat in it.
I am proud that you have chosen her to perform this task today. I am also delighted that the name which shall be given to the other lady is Leahy and that the time for her christening is so auspicious. It was almost 13 years ago that Admiral Leahy laid down the burdens of a unique office, that Of Chief of Staff to the President which he had borne so magnificently in World War II and in the difficult years thereafter. This Post went unfilled after his withdrawal in 1949.
But on this particular day, this July 1, 1961. another distinguished servant of the Nation, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, is officially assuming similar burdens. May I express the fervent hope that his coming to the White House at this time will signify as much for the preservation of peace as Admiral Leahy's contribution meant to the achievement of victory in war.
Ladies and gentlemen, when we say we are here to launch a ship, we say what has been said countless times before on similar occasions. We say it with scarcely a thought of what lies in back of the sentence.
It is to that -- to what lies behind launching -- that I ask you to turn your thoughts for a moment. Think first of the immense and intricate labor here in this shipyard, of the putting of plank on plank, of plate on plate. Think of the integration of skills, of heart, of brawn, and of brain from the beginning of the architect's drawings to this moment.
And think, if you will, of the combination of these same factors which acted to produce the materials in hundreds of mines and factories, the materials which were brought to this yard in order that the ship could be assembled. How many hands, in how many cities, in how many nations have already touched this ship? How many minds have combined to bring it to this cohesion of birth?
What did it take to make just the compass by which this ship will be steered? Where does a compass begin? In a factory in Boston with a purchase order? Or does it begin -- this compass -- with the first stirrings of man's awareness of his difference from other life forms?
And a missile -- where does a missile begin? In our decade? In our century? Or does it begin at that dim moment in the past when man first understood that 2 plus 2 equals 4?
The name that this ship will bear; it is an illustrious name. It is a name and something more, for it tells of other factors, factors of our history without which this ship would have no meaning, no bearings. Leahy is the war with Spain. It is World War I. It is World War II. It is the conflict in Korea. It is, in short, a name and a symbol of a life dedicated -- one life in the millions of lives risked for a nation and countless thousands given for it. These, too, the named and unnamed whose sacrifices have given form, substance, and survival to our Nation in conflict, lie behind this moment, this event.
What I am trying in a most inadequate way to say to you, ladies and gentlemen, is that when we launch this ship today we set upon the seas more, far more, than an assemblage of inanimate materials. We put into the wind a repository of human civilization and of our particular part of it. We launch the essence of an endless flow of human dreams and human hopes and human achievements.
This ship is an expression of our national and our total civilized heritage, mankind's heritage. And it is this heritage which is at stake in the world today -- this heritage and the opportunity for generations to come in this Nation and in all parts of the world to add to it.
It is this heritage which peace -- honorable peace -- will preserve. It is this heritage which war -- unbridled war -- can destroy.
May this ship bring peace, stability, and understanding. May the Leahy always carry with it -- on its bow -- the image, figuratively speaking, the image of the lady who will launch her and with it the confidence, the strength, and the devotion we all have for our country at all times and under all conditions.
May this ship, then, defend that peace and may it go always in peace on the oceans of the earth.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. MUSKIE. I am happy to yield to the distinguished majority leader.
Mr. MANSFIELD. On behalf of Mrs. Mansfield I thank the distinguished Senator from Maine. I think all too often we overlook our wives, who have done so much to help us get where we are and who, in return, receive so little in the way of recognition. It was more of an event, I believe, for me to be with Mrs. Mansfield at the Bath Iron Works when she christened the Leahy than it may have been for her. I was extremely proud not only of the way she wielded the christening bottle but also of the honor accorded to her.
Speaking of the Bath Iron Works, I must say I have never seen a more compact, a more competent, a more well-run shipyard than the one at Bath, Maine. It has, as the Senator from Maine indicated, an outstanding reputation. In my opinion, the Bath Iron Works would compare favorably not only with any other shipyard in the United States but also with any other shipyard in the world. It is run by an extremely capable man in the person of Mr. John Newell, its president, and it is a credit not only to the State in which it is located but also to the Department of the Navy, and the country as a whole.
The Senator from Maine [Mr. MUSKIE was there, along with my distinguished colleague [Mr. METCALF] and his wife, the outstanding Representative from Hawaii [Mr. INOUYE] and his wife, and two distinguished Representatives from Maine [Mr. TUPPER and Mr. GARLAND] and their wives. It was an occasion which will long be remembered by all of us in attendance.
In conclusion, I am deeply grateful to the Senator from Maine for making his remarks, and I assure him, I thank him also, on behalf of Mrs. Mansfield.
Mr. MUSKIE. I thank the distinguished majority leader for his generous comments.