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Page Title: Change of Command Ceremony
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Ship Commissioning Ceremony
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Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
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Ensign
Customarily the CO delivers a short speech. The  speech  usually  touches  on  the  work  of  the building yard, the name of the ship, the history of any previous ships of the same name, and other items  of  interest. If the state, city, or sponsor intends to make a   presentation   of   silver   or   another   gift,   this portion   of   the   ceremony   then   takes   place.   A benediction  by  the  ship  or  yard  chaplain  concludes the  ceremony. After  the  ceremony,  the  officer’s  wardroom, chief   petty   officer’s   (CPO’s)   mess,   and   crew’s mess  host  a  reception  or  luncheon  to  entertain  the guests. This  ceremony  provides  an  impressive  and fitting  way  for  a  new  ship  to  enter  the  U.S. Navy. CHANGE-OF-COMMAND  CEREMONY Following   U.S.  Navy  Regulations,   a  com- manding officer about to be relieved of command will,  at  the  time  of  turning  over  command,  call all  hands  to  muster.  With  the  crew  at  quarters, the   commanding   officer   reads   the   orders   of detachment  and  relinquishes  command  to  the prospective   commanding   officer,   who   then assumes  command  as  directed. The  change-of-command  ceremony,  which  is rich  in  naval  tradition,  is  quite  formal.  The turnover  of  a  Navy  command  is  the  formal passing of responsibility, authority, and account- ability  of  command  from  one  officer  to  another. With all hands at quarters, with officers and crew in ranks, the senior officer participating in the ceremony parades and readies for inspection an   appropriate   guard.   Guests   are   seated. Although  the  main  purpose  of  the  ceremony  is the  turnover  of  responsibility  from  one  officer to  another,  it  provides  the  outgoing  CO  the opportunity  to  say  goodbye  to  the  officers  and enlisted  personnel.  It  also  provides  an  opportunity for the new CO to greet the crew. Normally, the uniform  should  be  full  dress  with  swords  for participants and service dress for military guests. After  the  reading  of  orders,  the  departing  CO turns  to  the  relieving  officer  and  says,  “Sir or  Ma’am,  I  am  ready  to  be  relieved.”  The prospective  CO  steps  forward,  reads  the  orders of  assignment  to  command,  faces  the  departing CO,  salutes,  and  says,  “Sir  or  Ma’am,  I  relieve you.” The unit commander, if present, is saluted by the new CO, who says, “Sir or Ma’am, I report for   duty.”   The  new  CO  makes  a  few  brief remarks, usually   confined   to   wishing   the departing CO well and stating that all orders of his or her predecessor remain in effect. After the exchange-of-command salute, the old commission pennant  is  lowered  and  a  new  one  broken.  The old commission pennant is then presented to the departing  CO.  As  with  the  ship  commissioning ceremony,  the  officer’s  wardroom,  CPO’s  mess, and  crew’s  mess  usually  host  a  reception. SUMMARY Few  occasions  stir  the  emotions  of  people more  than  a  formal  naval  ceremony.  Most  of these ceremonies instill a great amount of pride in  our  naval  service  for  all  who  attend. In  your  naval  career  you  will  attend  many formal ceremonies. No matter what role you fill, take  a  moment  to  look  around  you  to  reflect  on the  traditions  and  customs  that  have  been  carried on for many years. These traditions and customs will make you proud to be a part of the greatest Navy  in  the  world. REFERENCES United  States  Navy  Regulations,  1990,  Depart- ment  of  the  Navy,  Office  of  the  Secretary, Washington,   D.C.,   1990. SUGGESTED  READING Mack,  W.P.,  and  R.W.  Connell,  Naval   Cere- monies,   Customs,   and   Traditions,   5th  ed., Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Md., 1980. Mack,  W.P.,  and  T.D.  Paulsen,   The   Naval 0fficer’s Guide, 9th ed., Naval Institute Press, Annapolis,   Md.,   1983. 8-13

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