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PENOBSCOT BAY Ship's History: Christening & Commissioning

Documents, photographs, and news clippings pertaining to PENOBSCOT BAY's Commissioning Ceremony on January 4, 1985

After a keel laying on July 1, 1983, PENOBSCOT BAY was launched by Bay City Marine, Inc., at Tacoma, Washington, on July 20, 1984. After steaming down the West Coast of the United States, through the Panama Canal, and up the Eastern Seaboard, she was commissioned at Governor's Island, New York, on January 4, 1985.

WEBMASTER's NOTE: Photographs from the ceremony are available here in a gallery in the "Media Center" section of the Web site. The images are scanned from negatives and original prints in the ship's archives. News coverage of the construction and Commissioning is available here.

Thumbnail of Bay City Marine PamphletBay City Marine Pamphlet "140-foot Icebreaker/Harbor Tug"

Informational pamphlet produced by the shipbuilder. Includes sections on WTGB class capabilities, advantages over the WYTM class that preceded the WTGBs, and listing of subcontractors and project vendors who supplied many of the cutter's components during construction.

Thumbnail of Commissioning Ceremony programCommissioning Ceremony program and RSVP card

Actual program from the ceremony and the RSVP card sent to invitees.

Thumbnail of Christening Ceremony programChristening Ceremony program

Program from the Christening Ceremony held on November 2, 1984, at Broadway Pier in San Diego, California. Guests and speakers included James C. Sanders, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration; U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter; Thelma Duggin, Coordinator of Minority Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation; VADM Charles E. Larkin, USCG (ret.); and the ship's sponsor, Mrs. Katherine Larkin, wife of VADM Larkin.

Thumbnail of OFCO 27-8425 May 1984: Operating Facility Change Order (OFCO) 27-84

When commissioning warships of the United States, the OFCO is the official document that formally authorizes a new cutter or ship to be commissioned. OFCO 27-84, which officially established the PENOBSCOT BAY as a new unit of the Coast Guard, was signed by Coast Guard Chief of Staff VADM Paul Yost on May 25, 1984. The order provided for creation of necessary billets (crew positions) for the new unit, established PENOBSCOT BAY's Dining Facility (galley), established the cutter's budget and accounting line information, and laid out the necessary tasks that had to be accomplished prior to the cutter's commissioning.

Thumbnail of PENOBSCOT BAY Notice 506031 December 1984: PENOBSCOT BAY Notice 5060

This notice contains a copy of the Commissioning Ceremony script, with edits by the ship's first Executive Officer, LT(jg) Edward Sinclair. As is U.S. Naval tradition, LT(jg) Sinclair acted as master of ceremonies as the cutter's Commanding Officer, LT Jon Bechtle, carried out the commissioning.

Thumbnail of CCGD5 OPORD 17-8415 August 1984: CCGD5 OPORD 17-84

This OPORDER charged various commands within the Coast Guard Fifth District, based in Portsmouth, Virginia, with assisting the new cutter through various tasks prior to PENOBSCOT BAY's arrival at its new homeport in New York. The OPORDER required PENOBSCOT BAY to undergo formal acceptance by the Coast Guard at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, and shakedown training at Little Creek, Virginia. After transiting from the West Coast, the cutter and crew underwent intensive training at Little Creek to ensure the new ship was ready to meet its demanding new list of mission requirements.

Thumbnail of CCGDTHREE OPORD 04-8413 October 1984: CCGDTHREE OPORD 04-84

This Coast Guard Third District OPORDER mandated the creation of necessary support facilities for PENOBSCOT BAY at its new homeport on Governor's Island and contained a rough schedule of events leading up to the cutter's commissioning. The Third District, which was at the time responsible for the waters in and around New York, no longer exists and has since been folded into the First District, which is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Thumbnail of Commissioning Prayer17 December 1984: Commissioning Prayer

Final draft of the commissioning prayer delivered by Chaplain Cram.


Thumbnail of GRUNY Memo 506227 December 1984: Coast Guard Group New York Memo 5062

From Commander, Coast Guard Group New York, to Commander, Third Coast Guard District. Contains a list of military and civilian invitees.


Thumbnail of VADM Yost's remarks4 January 1985: Remarks by VADM Paul Yost

Draft (with pen and ink edits) of VADM Paul Yost's remarks delivered at the Commissioning Ceremony.


Thumbnail of CAPT McDonald's remarks4 January 1985: Remarks by CAPT J. L. McDonald

Remarks delivered by the Group New York Commander, CAPT J. L. McDonald, at the Commissioning Ceremony.

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Last Modified 1/12/2016