The USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer will be commissioned at Port Everglades, July 21 - 27, 2019, pending final approval of those dates from the Secretary of the Navy. She is named for Paul Ignatius, who served as United States Secretary of the Navy under President Lyndon Johnson from 1967 to 1969. Ignatius had previously served with honor as a commissioned lieutenant in the Navy during World War II.

The USS Paul Ignatius Commissioning Committee, comprised of members from Broward Navy Days, Inc., local Navy League Councils and business and community leaders, was formed to plan the week-long celebration and coordinate efforts with the Navy. 

The Navy’s use of the word “commission” means the placing of a ship in active service. The commissioning ceremony is one of the most significant milestones in the life of a ship as it marks her acceptance as a unit of the operating forces of the United States Navy. Brought to life after ship naming, keel laying, christening and launching, time-honored Naval customs and traditions help welcome a warship into the fleet.

A commissioning ceremony includes speeches from flag officers, civil leaders and other dignitaries. The Navy leader who delivers one of the final speeches usually places the ship into commission by announcing it to the crowd. At the completion of the speech, the prospective commanding officer orders his executive officer to hoist the colors and the commissioning pennant.

At the moment when the commissioning pennant is broken at the masthead, a ship becomes a Navy command in her own right, and takes her place alongside the other active ships of the fleet.

A central figure in a ship’s life is the sponsor. Chosen by the Secretary of the Navy, a ship’s sponsor is a female who is typically selected for her relationship to the namesake or to the ship’s current mission. Once selected, the sponsor maintains that role for the entire commissioned life of the ship. The sponsor of the USS Paul Ignatius is Mrs. Nancy Ignatius.

Of course, the ship could not come alive without her crew. “Plank owners“ are Sailors who are members of the crew of a ship when that ship is placed in commission. These Sailors have an immense responsibility to turn the ship from a metal vessel to a living, fighting manned warship. Leading the crew, the ship’s prospective commanding officer (PCO) serves as the traditional host of the commissioning ceremony.

Become an Honorary Plank Owner

You can become an Honorary Plank Owner with a contribution at the following levels:

Commander – $2,500
Invitation to Chair’s Reception
Honorary Plank Owner Plaque
USS Paul Ignatius Commissioning Coin
Recognition in the Commissioning Guide

Lieutenant Commander – $1,000
Honorary Plank Owner Plaque
USS Paul Ignatius Commissioning Coin
Recognition in the Commissioning Guide

Lieutenant – $500
Honorary Plank Owner Certificate
USS Paul Ignatius Commissioning Coin
Recognition in the Commissioning Guide

Other Ways to Support the Cause
The Commissioning Committee is planning a week-long celebration, including recreational activities and community service projects for the crew, culminating in the commissioning ceremony. Your financial or in-kind contribution is appreciated and recognized: 

Master Chief – $250
USS Paul Ignatius Commissioning Coin
Recognition in the Commissioning Guide

Petty Officer – $100
Recognition in the Commissioning Guide


Corporate sponsorship packages are also available.

For more information, contact Mary Anne Gray, chair, at / 850-723-9538 or a member of the commissioning committee. For updates about the commissioning events, sign up for our mailing list using the form at the bottom of our Home page.

USS Paul Ignatius Commissioning Committee

Ron Perkins, Treasurer

1640 E. Sunrise Blvd. #2415

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Broward Navy Days, Inc. is the fiduciary agent for the USS Paul Ignatius Commissioning Committee, a 501(c)3 charitable organization as determined by the IRS and registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free 1-800-HELP-FLA or online at Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the State.

Individual Levels

USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) Ship Commissioning