For the first time, the city of Annapolis will host the commissioning of a warship, the USS Sioux City.
In honor of the ceremony, a series of events will lead up to the actual commissioning on Saturday, November 17.
“It’s a very patriotic ceremony, probably one of the most patriotic ceremonies the Navy does,” said Jamie Graybeal, a retired Naval captain and volunteer with the commissioning committee. “That signals the acceptance of the ship and the ship’s preparedness to join the fleet as an active duty warship.”
Commissioning Week events will take place from November 7 through November 17. The public will be able to take tours of the ship from November 10 through November 15, and one final time on Commissioning Day.
During the Commissioning Day ceremony, the crew will stand at attention in front of the ship. A few dignitaries will give speeches, and then the crew will be given the ship.
The Commissioning Day reception is open to the public but requires tickets. The tickets are free and distributed on a first come, first served basis. A crowd of 5,000 people is expected for the ceremony, Graybeal said. The youth of Annapolis will be given special tours of the ship.
“[It will] get them energized about the importance of education and what the future could look like for them,” Graybeal said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to see a Naval ship, talk to sailors, maybe get inspired to serve their country.”
In addition to events for the public, there will be special “morale and welfare” events for the crew of the USS Sioux City. These events include picnics, a dinner at Eastport Yacht Club, and a special tailgate and recognition on the field during the Navy football game.
“They’re meant to treat the crew for all their hard work and make sure they feel welcome here in Annapolis,” Graybeal said.
There will be a few thousand visitors from Sioux City, Iowa, for the occasion, Graybeal said. Since the ship’s namesake town is landlocked, Annapolis was chosen as the “perfect alternative.”
“Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay have a rich maritime history,” Graybeal said. “Additionally, this provides a unique opportunity for the citizens of Annapolis to see a ship commissioned in their hometown.”
For a full list of Commissioning Week events or to reserve tickets to the Commissioning Day ceremony, visit www.usssiouxcitylcs11.org.