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‘For all’ Diné veterans: Billy-Upshaw christens USNS Navajo in Louisiana

‘For all’ Diné veterans: Billy-Upshaw christens USNS Navajo in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS – Jocelyn Billy-Upshaw christened the USNS Navajo with a bottle of “perfectly aged” André champagne from California.

‘For all’ Diné veterans: Billy-Upshaw christens USNS Navajo in Louisiana

Navajo Times | Krista Allen
The USNS Navajo, aka T-ATS 6, on the Intracoastal Waterway in Houma, La., Aug. 26. Ship sponsor Jocelyn Billy-Upshaw christened the Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship for the U.S. Navy.

Wearing a clear poncho over her biil and fine dootł’izhii and béésh łigaii, Billy-Upshaw, the USNS Navajo sponsor and the 2006-07 Naabeehó Bich’eekį, smashed the bottle against the newly minted ship berth in the Intracoastal Waterway in Houma, Louisiana.

A day before the christening, she practiced smashing two bottles of André champagne near the vessel. It’s for good luck and safe travel wherever the USNS Navajo may go, aka the T-ATS 6.

‘For all’ Diné veterans: Billy-Upshaw christens USNS Navajo in Louisiana

Navajo Times | Krista Allen
Hataałii Nelson Billy, Jocelyn Billy-Upshaw’s uncle, sings before guests leave a Bollinger Shipyards conference room in Houma, La., on Aug. 25.

The tradition goes “way back,” according to history. Many ancient seafaring societies had their ceremonies for launching a new ship. The Greeks wore olive branch wreaths around their heads, drank wine to honor the gods, and poured wine on a new boat to bless it. The Babylonians sacrificed an ox. The Turks sacrificed a sheep. The list goes on.

Read the full story in the Aug. 31 edition of the Navajo Times.


About The Author

Krista Allen

Krista Allen is editor of the Navajo Times.

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