What is a Commissioning Ceremony?
The commissioning ceremony marks the official transition of a ship from its construction and outfitting status to a new role as an element of the operating forces of the United States Navy. The moment the commissioning pennant is broken, the ship becomes the absolute responsibility of her commanding officer, who, together with his or her crew, is obligated to keep this ship ready at all times to support and defend the policies of our nation in peace or in war.
The customs and traditions observed during the ceremony have evolved through the 244 year history of the United States Navy, but have remained fundamentally unchanged since the USS CONSTITUTION was commissioned in 1798. The ship “comes alive” as her crew boards her and operates the equipment on the ship’s upper decks. During her initial training cruise, the varied backgrounds and experience of every member of the crew will combine to create a distinctive camaraderie which will be unique to each specific ship.