COMMISSIONING COMMITTEE

COMMISSIONING COMMITTEE
The USS RALPH JOHNSON (DDG 114) Commissioning Committee was formed from volunteers and is led by the Navy League of the United States, Charleston Council, to honor the sacrifice and service of Charleston native, PFC Ralph Johnson USMC and the ship being commissioned bearing his name. The commissioning ceremony places a ship into active service and is celebrated to honor the ship, and the men and women onboard, as it begins its history. The ceremony and events that surround it are rooted in centuries-old Naval tradition.

Committee Objectives

  • Provide a memorable Commissioning Ceremony for the USS Washington.
  • Raise awareness of the story of Ralph Johnson’s sacrifice and service.
  • Promote lasting relationships between the state of South Carolina, city of Charleston and the crew of USS RALPH JOHNSON.
  • Finance appropriate events and activities associated with these objectives by supplementing the limited funds provided by the Navy for customary and expected social activities.
  • Create a needs-based scholarship in Ralph Johnson’s name that reminds us of his legacy, supports local students and helps meet the technical workforce needs of our State.
The Committee Advisory Board reviews the Committee’s progress and provides advice as required. 

The Board members include:

Dr. Barbara D. Dilligard, 
President and CEO 
Karaton Services

Rear Admiral James Flatley
USN (Ret)

Mr. Scott Isaacks
Director 
Ralph H Johnson V.A. Medical Center

Major General James Livingston
USMC (Ret)
Recipient of the Medal of Honor

Captain Will Stewart
USN (Ret)

The Honorable John Tecklenburg
Mayor of the City of Charleston, SC

Honorary Fundraising Chairman
Mr. Bill Hall
Owner
Hall Management Group
Committee Members include:
Mr. Bill Antonetti
Captain Patrick Keaveny, USNR (Ret)
Mrs. Tonya C. Lobbestael
Mr. Roger Nelson
Mr. Jim Offutt
Captain Taylor Skardon, USN (Ret)
Colonel Charles Skipper, USMC (Ret)
Colonel Andy Solgere, USMC (Ret)
Mrs. Jo Ann Stadtmueller
Colonel Ralph Tice, USMC (Ret)
Marc Tye

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE COMMISSIONING?

The Commissioning Ceremony marks the official entry of a warship into the active fleet of the U.S. Navy. A celebratory event, it is highlighted by the spine-tingling, unforgettable moment when the crew runs aboard the ship to man the rail, all engines are started, systems tested, and the ship is brought to life from the “cold iron” state it was in for the majority of the Commissioning Ceremony. More information on the history of Commissioning can be found on the U.S. Navy History page.

WHERE AND WHEN WILL THE COMMISSIONING BE?

We anticipate the commissioning of the USS RALPH JOHNSON will be on March 24, 2018. The event will be held on the Columbus Street Pier in Charleston, S.C.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMMISSIONING AND DELIVERY?

Delivery is the occasion where a ship is "delivered" to the U.S. Navy by the shipbuilder. During the delivery, the ship's Commanding Officer and U.S. Navy Supervisor of Shipbuilding sign transfer paperwork in a small ceremony. On the day of delivery, the ship’s crew typically moves onboard the ship and takes responsibility for security, safety and operating equipment. The ship officially becomes a part of the U.S. Navy, but not a member of the active fleet.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMMISSIONING AND CHRISTENING?

Christening is the event where a bottle of champagne is cracked on the bow of the ship and commemorates the launching of a ship. Commissioning signifies the welcoming of the ship into the Active Navy Fleet. Christening typically takes place a few years before Commissioning. If you compare building a ship to building a new house, when a ship is christened, the walls are up, some of the major equipment is installed, but a lot of "fitting out" still needs to be done. In the case of building a new house, "fitting out" would be installing carpet, tiles, appliances, interior walls, etc. For a ship, "fitting out" may entail a lot more to include gun and missile systems, computer systems, lots of electrical wiring, deck tile, etc. What might take a house three to six months takes a ship two or more years. More information on the history of Christening can be found on the U.S. Navy History page.

HOW CAN I ATTEND THE COMMISSIONING?

You can register for an invitation form the Navy by going to the “Invitations” page on this website. Only people who register will be allowed to attend the ceremony.


WHAT IS COMMISSIONING WEEK?

Commissioning week is the week preceding the commissioning. During commissioning week, numerous events celebrating the impending commissioning are held. These events are attended by ship’s crew, honored guests and dignitaries. As we get closer to the commissioning date we will provide more information.

CAN I PARTICIPATE IN COMMISSIONING WEEK EVENTS ALSO?

Absolutely. More information on ways that you can support and participate in Commissioning week events will be available in the near future. In the meantime please check out our “Support” page.

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