NS Norfolk Community
Battleship hosts first military ceremony of 2019
Story by Max Lonzanida on 01/02/2019
On a brisk and chilly Wednesday morning, Naval Officers assigned to the USS San Antonio (LPD 17) walked across the gangway to board the USS Wisconsin (BB 64). Before boarding, they stopped smartly and rendered honors to the National Ensign flying from the iconic Iowa-Class Battleship’s fantail. Afterwards, they set foot aboard the ageless teak wood decks and proceeded forward of turret #1 to convene a promotion ceremony for one of their own. In the span of 20 minutes, Lt.j.g. Zappa would be promoted to Lieutenant in front of members of his command and his family; and more importantly, this was the first military ceremony aboard the Wisconsin in 2019.
According to Thomas Dandes, Special Events Coordinator at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum; 287 re-enlistments were hosted by the museum in 2018, followed by 517 total military ceremonies. The decks of the Wisconsin are a popular venue for promotions and retirements; while the iconic turret #1 often serves as a back drop for promotion ceremonies during the week. In the warmer months, the summer sun can make the decks of the Wisconsin feel like a frying pan; and during the winter months the chilling temperatures have the opposite effect of making the deck feel like a freezer. The extremes in temperature does little to deter those currently serving in the US Navy from venturing aboard the battleship; and this was the case this morning.
The ceremony started promptly at 11am on the ageless battleship. With the huge 16-inch gun barrels as a backdrop, CAPT Edgardo Moreno, Commanding Officer of the San Antonio, provided some cursory opening remarks. Thereafter, with right hands raised, he administered the Oath to Lt.j.g. Zappa in front of members of his command and family. Warm smiles lightened the mood as his wife pinned on a new set of glistening Lieutenant bars on his uniform. Thereafter, applause resonated from the small crowd and some on-lookers as the Wisconsin and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum hosted and concluded its first military ceremony of 2019.
The USS San Antonio (LPD 17) is the first in her class of twelve Amphibious Transport Docks. She bears the namesake of the City of San Antonio, Texas, and is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk. She was commissioned in 2006. The USS Wisconsin (BB 64) is one of four Iowa-Class Battleships; and was originally commissioned in 1944. She was decommissioned for a final time in 1991, and is moored permanently next to the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and Nauticus in Downtown Norfolk, Virginia as a museum ship.
About the Hampton Roads Naval Museum:
The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is one of ten Navy museums that are operated by the Naval History & Heritage Command. It celebrates the long history of the U.S. Navy in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and is co-located with Nauticus in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. Admission to the museum is free, simply by-pass the ticket line and take the stairs or elevator to the museum on the second deck. The museum hosts a robust educational program for area schools and commands, with free educational programs to area schools aligned with state curriculum standards, a travelling sea chest program, a premier Lego outreach program, and historical presentations for area commands. To inquire, contact their Educational Director, Laura Orr at Laura.L.Orr@navy.mil or at (757) 322-3018. The museum is also host to a robust volunteer corps, who serve as docents, support special events, and assist in museum archives. To inquire, contact their Volunteer Coordinator, Darcy Sink at Darcy.Sink@navy.mil or at (757) 322-2992. Lastly the museum proudly hosts military ceremonies, such as re-enlistments, retirements, and promotions for area commands aboard the U.S.S Wisconsin and in the museum’s gallery. To inquire, contact their special events coordinator, Tom Dandes at Thomas.Dandes@navy.mil or call (757) 322-3106. More information about the museum can be found at https://www.facebook.com/HRNavalMuseum/