A Touch of Home Added to the Christening of the USS Santa Fe & World War II

In 1942 Caroline T. Chavez christens the USS Santa Fe with water from the Santa Fe river.

The USS Santa Fe took part in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Prior to heading out to war, a ceremony was held to christen the ship for its maiden voyage. In 1942 Caroline T. Chavez had the honor of christening the USS Santa Fe. It wasn’t a typical celebration. Rather than using champagne, the ship was christened with Santa Fe river water blessed by Archbishop Rudolph Gerken.

A Family Connection

Senator Dennis Chavez in 1932 campaigns for FDR in northern New Mexico.

Caroline T. Chavez was the daughter of Chief Justice David Chavez, Jr. Another member of that clan was Senator Dennis Chavez. The politician was touted by area newspapers as the greatest born New Mexican living or dead. During his tenure he was a political powerhouse. Chavez was a tough, seasoned veteran of the state’s turbulent political wars. In 1935, the New Mexico electorate sent him to the Senate. He resumed the role of Sen. Bronson Cutting after his death in a plane crash. During his 27 years in office one of his many accomplishments was helping to pass legislation establishing the Pan American Highway. In the 1930s he travelled throughout the villages and towns of New Mexico campaigning for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. His statue is one of two from New Mexico on display in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.

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