The naval commissioning ceremony has been a tradition of all navies for centuries. It has been in the United States Navy since its beginning. The commissioning is the final act that marks entrance of a man-of-war into the naval forces of her nation. This is the final and perhaps the most significant event of the triad that brings a ship to life; keel laying, launching and christening, and commissioning. When her commissioning pennant breaks to fly from the mast, USS Gabrielle Giffords LSC10 becomes a proud ship of the line. In the early period of our Navy’s history, no exact commissioning procedure was prescribed. Thus, a ship’s date of commissioning was recorded as any one of a number of days – when the colors were first raised, when the officers and crew reported aboard, when the first log entry was made, or when the ship first put out to sea.
Today, as the distinctive mark of commissioned warship, the pennant is flown except when displaced by the flag of a higher authority. Our national commissioning pennant is blue at the hoist and a union of seven white stars and a horizontal red and white stripe at the fly. It has been the symbol for centuries of a man-of-war. The symbol is believed to date from the 17th century, when the Dutch were at war with the English. Dutch Admiral Maarten Harpertzoon Tromp hoisted a broom at his masthead to symbolize his intention to sweep the British from the sea. British Admiral William Blake hoisted a horsewhip to the masthead in response. The victorious British thus set the precedent for a long, narrow commissioning pennant to symbolize the original horsewhip as the distinctive symbol for a fighting ship.
|Tilman Fertitta - Chairman Commissioning Committee|
|President George H. W. Bush|
|Honorable James A. Baker III|
|William W. Pickavance, Jr. - Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, Retired|
|Mark Kelly - NASA Astronaut, Captain, U.S. Navy, Retired|
|Scott Kelly - NASA Astronaut, Captain, U.S. Navy, Retired|
Mike Fossum – Chief Operating Officer, Texas A&M Galveston Vice
President, Texas A&M University NASA Astronaut Colonel
|Lynn Wyatt – Former Board of Visitors, U.S. Naval Academy|
|Dr. Jill Biden – Ship’s Sponsor|
|Ernie Connor – Chief of Staff|
The commissioning ceremony is an official U. S. Navy event for which there is no admission fee. Admission is, however, by invitation only for security reasons and due to limited seating. Invitation lists will be submitted by crew members, U. S. Navy organizations involved in the ship’s construction. If you do not choose to participate in the events surrounding commissioning and only desire to attend the ceremony, please submit the form below. Invitations will be mailed about 2-3 weeks prior to the ceremony, however requests for tickets should be received at least 60 days prior to the ceremony.
If you are a guest of a crew member on USS Gabrielle Giffords, DO NOT request tickets using this form. Please contact your crew member for tickets to ensure you are seated in the appropriate seating section. If you would like to contribute to and participate in the privately funded commissioning week events please click here. If you have already contributed to the commissioning week events, you DO NOT need to request tickets since you are already on the list and will receive more information as the commissioning approaches.