The commissioning ceremony marks the acceptance of a ship as a unit of the operating forces of the United States Navy. At the moment of the breaking of the commissioning pennant USS SEATTLE (AOE-3) becomes the responsibility of the Commanding Officer, who, together with the ship’s officers and men, has the duty of making and keeping her ready for any service required by our nation in peace or war.
The commissioning pennant is believed to date from the 17th century when the Dutch were at war with the English. The Dutch Admiral Tromp hoisted broom at his masthead to indicate his intention to sweep the English from the area. The gesture was answered by the English Admiral, who hoisted a horsewhip, indicating his intention to subdue the Dutch. The English were victorious, and ever since the narrow “horsewhip” pennant has been adopted by all nations as the distinctive mark of ship at war.
Until now, SEATTLE has been merely hull and machinery. From this day forward,
she will be imbued with a personality and soul, reflecting the will and spirit
of all those past and present who have ever served in her.
With these words USS SEATTLE was commissioned on 5 April 1969