We now have a video of the entire Commissioning Ceremony.
With thanks to Doug McCoy, here’s the link.
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: Parking; Security; Dress Code; Weather; Children; Disabled Access; Gifts for Donors; Postal Cachet; Items for Sale; Ship Tour Hours. We will add additional topics and updated information as it becomes available. Please 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.
Postal 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)