Baby Christening
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Baby Christening Aboard USS John Paul Jones
Story Number: NNS060907-05
Release Date: 9/7/2006 3:52:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jose R. Rolon, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) hosted a baby christening in the ship's forecastle here Sept. 2.

Michael Williams Melnyk, named after his father, Chief Operations Specialist (SW) Michael Melnyk, was baptized in a private ceremony with just a few family members and friends present.

“It’s very important to me to have the Navy be part of my son’s life,” said Melnyk. “It has been such a part of my life, and I want to share this experience with the Navy and my family at the same time."

According to the Navy Historical Center, the custom of baptizing a child under the ship's bell or using the bell as a christening bowl originated in the British Royal Navy. It is considered an honor since the ship's bell remains with the ship throughout its commissioned service and with the Navy after the ship is decommissioned.

According to the Naval Historical Center, inscribing the names of children baptized aboard naval vessels creates an invisible tie between the country and its citizens.

“It’s a very special honor and unique experience for me, and I’m very excited to have the baptism of my first baby on a ship,” said Holly Melnyk, mother of the baby.

Ran Sparling and Adriemme Meisel filled in as 'stand-in' godparents for the ceremony.

“Having a baptism on the ship gives us the opportunity to have a tour and to know more about the Navy,” said Sparling. “It’s important, because it extends the sense of family in a special and unusual way. It gives a sense of family in the Navy.”

The baby's name will become the third inscribed name inside the ship’s bell.

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