Launching the Battleship South Dakota, 1941

Last Updated by Brian Gevik on
SD first lady Vera Bushfield christens the South Dakota, 1941
SD State Archives

An audio recording restored and archived by the South Dakota State Historical Society Archives captures the launching of the Battleship South Dakota on June 7, 1941.

image of old record

The recording features the voice of radio announcer Lewis Fischer of WCAU in Philadelphia. The original lacquer discs were sent by airmail to WNAX in Yankton, which broadcast the recording. WNAX presented the discs to Governor and Mrs. Harlan Bushfield, who in turn donated them to the South Dakota State Historical Society.

Vera Bushfield christened the ship at the New York Ship Building Corporation at Camden, New Jersey. The attack on Pearl Harbor would not happen until six months later, but work on other warships at the ship yard was barely paused for the christening.

christening of the battleship south dakota

Battleship South Dakota Christening

Excerpt from the 21-minute original audio recording

Courtesy: South Dakota State Historical Society Archives

Listen to the entire recording, read a transcript, and learn more at this South Dakota State Historical Society Archives Web page.

Learn more about the launch of the Battleship South Dakota and the restored recording on this State Historial Society Web page.

uss south dakota

The U.S.S. South Dakota and her crew saw combat throughout World War II, earning 13 battle stars. The ship was decomissioned in 1947 and scrapped in 1942. Learn more on the U.S.S. South Dakota memorial's Web site.