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Page Title: Ship Commissioning Ceremony
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execute passing honors, ships sound “Attention” and all persons in view on deck and not in ranks render the hand salute. FUNERALS If no chaplain or clergy is available, the com- manding officer (CO) or the CO’s representative conducts the funeral service of a Navy member. Six  pallbearers  and  six  body  bearers  escort  the body  of  a  Navy  member  during  a  military  funeral. The pallbearers are usually of the same grade or rating as the deceased. If a sufficient number of foreign  officers  of  appropriate  grade  attend  the funeral, they may be invited to serve as additional pallbearers. Those attending a military funeral may wear the  mourning  badge  at  their  discretion.  Escorts for  a  military  funeral  wear  the  mourning  badge as   prescribed   in   the   U.S.   Navy   Uniform Regulations   for  their  own  command. Boats   taking   part   in   a   funeral   procession display  the  national  ensign  at  half-mast.  If  the deceased was a flag or general officer; or at the time  of  death,  a  unit  commander;  or  a  com- manding  officer  of  a  ship,  that  officer’s  flag  or command  pennant,  or  a  commission  pennant,  is draped in mourning. It is then displayed at half- mast from a staff in the bow of the boat carrying the  body. The casket is covered with the national ensign. The  ensign  is  placed  on  the  casket  so  that  the union is at the head and over the left shoulder of the  deceased.  The  ensign  is  removed  from  the casket  before  it  is  lowered  into  the  grave  or committed  to  the  deep. Persons in the naval service salute when the body  is  carried  past  them,  while  the  body  is being lowered into the grave or committed to the deep,  and  during  the  firing  of  volleys  and  the sounding   of   “Taps.” Three rifle volleys are fired after the body has been lowered into the grave or committed to the deep,  following  which  “Taps”  is  sounded  by  the bugle.  In  a  foreign  port,  when  a  ship  has  not obtained permission to land an armed escort, the volleys are fired over the body after it has been lowered  into  the  boat  alongside. During  burial  at  sea,  the  ship  is  stopped,  if possible, and the ensign is displayed at half-mast from  the  beginning  of  the  funeral  service  until the   body   has   been   committed   to   the   deep. Further display of the ensign at half-mast maybe prescribed,  depending  on  the  circumstances,  by the  senior  officer  present. Funeral   honors   are   not   rendered   between sunset and sunrise. When circumstances require burial of the dead at night, such funeral services as  are  feasible  are  conducted. SHIP  COMMISSIONING  CEREMONY Although  Navy  Regulations  does  not  specif- ically  prescribe  the  ceremony  for  commissioning a Navy ship, custom has established a formal and impressive  routine.  The  crew  of  the  ship  being commissioned  assembles  and  stands  in  formation, headed   by   the   division   officer   or   department heads.  Other  ship’s  officers  assemble  facing  the ceremony,  usually  behind  the  executive  officer. Distinguished   guests   and   participants   in   the ceremony  are  seated.  The  first  watch  and  the officer  of  the  deck  (OOD)  take  their  stations  on the  quarterdeck.  Crew  members  station  them- selves  at  the  ready,  standing  by  the  national ensign,  union  jack,  and  commission  pennant  or personal  flag  halyards. The  officer  making  the  transfer  (usually  an officer  of  flag  rank)  opens  the  ceremony  by reading the orders for delivery of the ship to the U.S. Navy. “Attention” is sounded by the bugle, the  national  anthem  is  played,  and  all  flags, including the personal flag of the officer making the transfer, are hoisted simultaneously. With this act  the  ship  is  officially  commissioned. The officer effecting the transfer delivers the ship  to  the  new  commanding  officer  by  saying, “I  hereby  deliver  the  USS  [name  of  ship]." The new commanding officer reads his or her orders and states,  “I  hereby  assume  command  of  the USS  [name   of   ship],”  and orders the executive officer  to  “set  the  watch.”  The  executive  officer, in turn, directs the OOD to set the watch, and the ship’s  boatswain  (or  chief  boatswain’s  mate  in small ships) pipes the watch. The OOD and the other members of the watch take their assigned watch stations. 8-12

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