Commissioning Ceremony Information

We now have a video of the entire Commissioning Ceremony.

With thanks to Doug McCoy, here’s the link.


Traffic Warning

The Commander-in-Chief is in town. Street closures are expected as he and his entourage move about the city to various events. These street closures are never announced in advance for obvious security reasons. Accordingly, plan your travel to, from and in San Francisco with traffic congestion in mind.

This page contains important and useful information about the Commissioning Ceremony. Scroll down for paragraphs named: ParkingSecurityDress Code; WeatherChildrenDisabled AccessGifts for DonorsPostal CachetItems for Sale; Ship Tour Hours. We will add additional topics and updated information as it becomes availablePlease note: Security will be exceptionally tight (think airport security). Arriving at Pier 30-32 no later than 9 am is a sensible strategy. See detailed security information below.

The Commissioning Ceremony, on 11 October 2014 at 10 am, will be at Pier 30-32 in San Francisco. Admission is by ticket only. The invitation request system was closed in mid-July due to huge demand. This Pier lies on the Embarcadero just south of the Oakland – San Francisco Bay Bridge, and is readily accessible just a short walk from the Embarcadero & Brannan Street light rail / bus stop.

Parking: will be some distance away at Pier 80. You must have been registered as an attendee, or have your ceremony ticket in hand in order to park there. We will have security people stationed on the Pier, as will SFPD.  30 free shuttle buses will be running between the parking lot and the event venue on Pier 30-32. Shuttle hours: 07.30 – 15.30 (7.30 am to 3.30 pm on civilian clocks). Present estimate is that the shuttle ride to Pier 30-32 will take about 20 – 30 minutes.

Pier 30-32 Security: This is quoted from materials sent with the ticket invitations

Pier Security – All guests will pass through a security checkpoint upon entering the pier.  Security precautions mandate that all invited guests are required to have a federal or state issued photo identification card (example: military identification, driver’s license, passport, etc.) for port access.  Children under 16 are exempt with an adult escort.  Please have your photo ID and tickets available upon arrival.  The security checkpoint will include metal detectors, bag inspections and military working dogs.  Guests are asked not to bring large bags, large strollers, backpacks or coolers.  However, small diaper bags, umbrella strollers and purses will be allowed.  All bags, purses, wallets, backpacks, coats, etc. are subject to search for weapons, explosives, and contraband.  No weapons including knives or sharp pointed objects are allowed at any commissioning event.  We appreciate your cooperation and understanding regarding these procedures required by the U.S. Navy for your safety, the safety of the crew, and the protection of the newest commissioned warship afloat.  In order for the security process to flow smoothly and for you and your guests to be seated in time for the ceremony, please ensure that you arrive at USS AMERICA (LHA 6) commissioning site no later than 9:00.

Security measures are subject to change due to increases in force protection conditions.

Dress Code: for active duty Navy: Service Dress Blues; active duty Marine Corps: Dress Blue Alpha. The Navy-recommended dress code for civilians is “Informal” meaning suit or coat and tie for men and a jacket with skirt or trousers and blouse for women. Flat, closed toe shoes are required for visits aboard the ship.

Weather: the average high temperature in San Francisco in mid-October is 70 degrees. Current forecasts are for highs in the low 70s. Overnight lows in the low 60s are expected. At ceremony time – 10 am – it is likely that our morning fog may not have yet burned off, and this will make it seem even cooler, and you can expect a cooling breeze on the pier. Under these conditions, layering will be a good strategy for comfort. When the sun does burn through, because we will be close to water, and because the sun seems brighter in San Francisco than elsewhere, we strongly recommend that you use a good sunscreen. Rain is extremely unlikely at this time in October.

Children: while we want this to be a family celebration, you should know that the event is serious if not solemn. It will be outdoors, on a pier over water. Parents will have to maintain careful vigilence and care of young children, say those under 5 years. Parents planning on a ship tour must know that this is an “industrial” operation, with dangerous equipment and buttons to push that will turn on or turn off important equipment! There will be ladders (stairways) to climb. So, while children are not prohibited, we ask that you use good judgment about bringing very young children to the event.

Disabled Access: Piers 80 (parking) and 30-32 (ceremony) are ADA compliant. The ship, however, is not ADA compliant. We are informed that disabled parking on Pier 30-32 is assigned to family and friends of crew members, and is full. ADA parking will be available on Pier 80, and ADA-compliant shuttles will be available for the trip to the commissioning pier.

Gifts for Donors: the promised gifts for donors will be available for pick up at the Friday evening Committee-sponsored (invitation only) major donor reception and on Saturday at Pier 30-32.

Pictorial Cachet PostmarkPostal Cachet: a very attractive postal cachet commemorating the commissioning will be available on Pier 30-32 on Saturday. Price is $5. The Postal Service will have a table set up to date-cancel the stamp on the cachet.


Items for Sale: several items commemorating the commissioning will be available for sale on Pier 30-32. These will include our special commemorative baseball; Ballcaps of all ranks (Marine & Navy), coins, coffee mugs, travel coffee mugs, shot glasses, t-shirts (including a special San Francisco themed shirt), fleece, hoodies, polos, Zippos, blankets, and more! All proceeds go to the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fund. Check back here for more details. Or better, bring extra cash for those items you will not be able to live without!

Ship Tour Hours: Hours when the public may tour USS AMERICA are as follows:

Wed 8 Oct: 1300- 1600 (1 pm – 4 pm)
Thu 9 Oct: 1300 – 1600 (1 pm – 4 pm)
 Fri 10 Oct: No Public Tours
Sat 11 Oct: 1200 – 1600 (noon – 4 pm) (for Commissioning Ceremony Attendees; admission to the Ceremony by ticket only)
Sun 12 Oct: 0900 – 1600 (9 am – 4 pm)
Mon 13 Oct: 0900 – 1600 (9 am – 4 pm)




49 Responses to Commissioning Ceremony Information

  1. Gerald Carter says:

    I have already sent in my request for 2 tickets for the commissioning, do i need to send another copy? Not a problem to do so, as our son is in the navy and I appreciate the need for security. Also, our donation acceptance letter indicated that we would be receiving two tickets for October.
    Thank You,
    Gerald & Jill Carter

    • If you sent your request through Captain Carlock (, you do not need to re-submit. You’re “in the system”!

      Every good wish–

  2. Henry barnes says:

    When will we have a date, need to make reservations.

    • While we are “about 90% certain” the date will be Saturday 11 October (during San Francisco’s famous Fleet Week), we cannot officially name the date until the Secretary of the Navy signs off on it. We are hoping for the sign-off by 1 April. Therefore, go ahead and make reservations, but be sure you have an escape clause in the event SecNav changes the date for reasons that are not apparent here in California!

  3. Jackie jones says:

    It’s now the end of April. Has this date been approved officially yet? Thank you!

    • No. No official approval as yet. With fingers crossed, the ship’ crew, San Francisco’s Fleet Week Committee and our Commissioning Committee are making plans based on the 11 October date. Still, could be changed if SecNav says so… Moral: make no plans you can’t back out of!

  4. Kim Breedlove says:

    I have sent my request in to Captain Carlock. My son is in the Navy and this will be the first ceremony that I will be able to attend. He says that the deadline has already passed for him to request invitations so I have sent a request. Praying that I will recieve one. I also understand and appreciate the need for security. I will be happy to comply with whatever is required. I am so very proud of my son and how far he has come and would be extremely grateful for this opportunity.

    • Dear Ms Breedlove,
      At this point I think it’s safe to say that you will definitely receive your invitation to the Commissioning Ceremony. The only conceivable difficulty at this point may be the number of tickets we can issue to each invitee. When you receive your invitation – about 2 months before the event – you will see enclosed a reply card on which you can state the number of tickets you desire. Depending upon demand and the number of seats available (we expect around 10,000 available seats), the number of tickets sent to you – about a month before the event – may be fewer than what you requested. We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco in October (assuming the Secretary of the Navy signs off on the date).

      • Kim Breedlove says:

        With security being what it will, what will be allowed to bring to the ceremony? Can we make and bring our own welcome home sign? Am thinking of something small like an 8″X10″ sign.

  5. Sorry to say, but as we announced on June 13th, the Invitation Request System is now closed.

  6. Doug says:

    As a 3rd Generation Navy Veteran and I served aboard the USS AMERICA CV-66, I look forward to attending the Commissioning Ceremony. I have never been to a Commissioning Ceremony, what is the dress code for a civilian?

    • Dress will be casual, but shorts are not appropriate, both for the Ceremony and for the weather. Average high temps for early October are around 70°, but can range from 80° (1 day out of 10) to the mid-50s. It can get pretty breezy on the San Francisco waterfront, too. Moral: layer! It’s easier to take a layer off if you get warm than it is to put on a layer you don’t have when you’re cold and miserable. Also: wear sunscreen. The San Francisco sun seems especially brilliant.

      • i bauerschmidt says:

        Thank you for posting what to wear… I will be attending from NY State and wondered what to wear/pack… thnx

  7. Rod Standard says:

    How can I get detailed information about accessibility to the commissioning for a family member who is mobility impaired with limited walking and stair climbing ability? Need the shortest possible route from motor vehicle to a seat. Any insight or direction would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  8. navymom93 says:

    I’m not sure us my other messages have reached you, so I apologize if this is a repeat. Our Sailor requested 4 tickets but we only need 3, however as of today 8/15/14 we haven’t received anything. How do we find out if we are even on the list? Thank you.

    • Navy officials tell us they expect invitations to go out within the next two or three weeks. I’m not certain how ship’s company invitations / tickets are handled. Your sailor should inquire through the chain of command.

      • Steve Dolgin says:

        Hello Thomas. Just requesting update on when invitations will be going out since its over 2 weeks since your posting.. I was on the list as a donor. I’ve had issues in the past with my local post office where mail has been mis-delivered and want to may sure I get the request for the official ticket in time once I receive the invitation package.. In the meantime looking forward to the event and Fleet Week. I also thank the committee for their hard work in making this possible and helping to bring this event to San Francisco! I also thank all the sailors and Marines for their service!

      • Steve Dolgin says:

        Finally got it. Just got concerned because a friend of mine in the area got his 5 days earlier plus I have had several items from other senders that never came and had to contact the sender. Looking forward to meeting you, the committee and the outstanding sailors and Marines on this beautiful ship!

  9. LE FITZ says:

    Are we able to bring signs to the ceremony?

    • This question has been discussed at Committee meetings. Thus far, I don’t think an official policy has been expressed. However, security will be extremely tight for this event. Use your best judgment in the matter. I will post as news any official “signs” policy if / when it’s promulgated.

  10. charleen radley says:

    I am trying to get 2 more tickets for October commissioning of the USS AMERICA, my brother in law and niece were over looked, can anyone help me

  11. Denise Vanden Bos says:

    Our son is on board and we have never received any information about the commissioning. Is there something that we need to do?

  12. Is the dress code for women formal or informal? I’m not sure how “fancy” of a dress to get for the ceremony. I’m worried about being under dressed

    • Informal dress for women would be similar as for men: jacket with trousers (or skirt), blouse. It may be cool in the morning, so plan accordingly.

  13. Michelle Quiñones says:

    I was planning on bringing my 8 month old son and was wondering what restrictions there will be as far as a diaper bag. If strollers are prohibited, I would need a diaper bag big enough to accommodate diapers and breastmilk. Do you have any information you can give me on this?

  14. i am a retired navy vet..can i wear my ships ball cap to ceremony?

  15. Shawn Wright says:

    I received my tickets on Friday! I’m so excited!! Can’t wait to see my son and this huge ship! LOL

  16. Austin Silva says:

    Is it possible to still get tickets to the commissioning?

  17. Frank Martin says:

    Silly question, but do we need tickets for the ceremony? Is this a public event or by invitation only? If its the latter, where and how do we get tickets?

    • This is a public but ticket / by invitation only event. Due to huge demand, the invitation request system was shut down about mid-July. We expect nearly 10,000 ticketed attendees!

  18. AMERICA Ombudsman says:

    I am asking on behalf of one of AMERICA’s family members who is diabetic, will she be allowed to bring in snack/drink due to her condition?

  19. AMERICA Ombudsman says:

    Another question is that we do have wheelchair bound family members that are planning on attending. Will there be parking for these attendees at pier 30-32? They will not be able to board a bus due to their disability.

  20. Doug says:

    What type of shoes are required for women who will be part of the Chairmans Reception and Ceremony on Saturday, closed toe OR are sandal type shoes OK?

  21. Can’t say that there is a “required” footwear for women, but my wife plans to wear a very dressy black closed-toe flat. Moderate height heels, of course, are fine for those not orthopedically challenged! Hope this helps…

    • I’m re-thinking the notion of heels for events on the ship. There will likely be ladders to climb, and hard, possibly slippery, metal decks…

  22. Omar Ortiz says:

    Dr. Snyder, is there a stand-by list for unused tickets? I’m a Navy/Marine Veteran, currently a student at City College of SF. I was stationed on the USS Indy Cv-62 amongst others. Pls advise. Thank you.

  23. Kathryn says:

    I was wondering dress code information. It say a skirt with a jacket, but I was wondering of a dress would still be okay? Thanks in advance.

  24. This is a hard one to nail down. After searching several sites, my interpretation is that wearing a dress is OK. Some sources even suggest a “little black dress” or cocktail apparel, but I would counsel a bit more conservative wear. Certainly a short skirt (say higher than knee top) or cleavage would not match the serious nature of the event. Google “Service Dress Blue Officer Uniform” to get an idea what Navy women will be wearing. Not a bad guide.

  25. Brian Tudor says:

    Will there be restrictions on camera’s? I have a Digital SLR and both a long and short zoom lens that I would like to bring for photo opportunities.

    • No restrictions on photography outside the ship. There may be restricted area inside the ship where photography is not permitted, but visits to those spaces will likely be restricted, too. Hope you get some great shots! Send my your best ones and I’ll post them on the site.

  26. Mac C says:

    Where can I buy a ticket?

    • Tickets to the Commissioning Ceremony are never available for sale. Availability for free tickets was closed down in mid-July due to huge demand. Admission by ticket is frankly a crowd management necessity as we expect up to 10,000 to witness the Commissioning from the pier. Please see our Commissioning Ceremony Information page for details.

      Tours of the ship on Monday and Tuesday, from 9 am to 4 pm, are open to the public. No tickets required. The ship, and her crew and embarked Marines make a visit very worthwhile!

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