BROWARD COUNTY, FL – Broward County’s Port Everglades will host the U.S. Navy’s Commissioning Ceremony of its newest Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS Paul Ignatius, on Saturday, July 27, 2019. Today, the Broward County Commission voted unanimously to waive dockage charges for the ship’s call and provide a cruise terminal for the Commissioning Committee to hold weeklong events.

“We are honored that the U.S. Navy recognizes that Port Everglades can meet their unique needs,” said Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen. “For 29 years, Fleet Week Port Everglades was produced as a signature annual event for South Florida, as well as the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and for the nation, bringing tens of thousands of visiting military personnel and guests to our community. We are proud that our community will host this important ceremonial event in the life of a new Naval warship.”

Broward County Transit will also waive bus fares for the military crew of the ship during their call in Port Everglades.

“This will be the sixth U.S. Navy vessel commissioned at Port Everglades,* the last one was commissioned eight years ago,” said Glenn Wiltshire, Acting Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director. “The commissioning of U.S. Navy vessels at ports other than Navy homeports is not regularly done, and the fact that Broward County and Port Everglades has been chosen to host a U.S. Navy ship commissioning for the sixth time in the past 32 years is an honor.”

Named after the 59th Secretary of the Navy (1967-69) during President Lyndon Johnson’s Administration and a distinguished World War II veteran, the USS Paul Ignatius (DDG-117) is the Navy’s 67th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and will debut the latest technology and weapon systems with the most advanced combat capabilities. At 513 feet long and 66 feet wide, with a displacement of approximately 9,200 tons, her propulsion system will drive it to speeds in excess of 30 knots, and she will accommodate a crew of 304 Sailors. This commissioning will have greater historical significance because Secretary Ignatius, who resides in Washington, D.C., plans to be present for the ceremonies, making the USS Paul Ignatius the first destroyer to be commissioned with the honoree present.

“We are looking forward to the ship’s commissioning at a place that has a history of a warm, military-welcoming community,” said the ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander Robby Trotter. “Only a handful of ports in the nation have the experience associated with holding an annual Fleet Week tradition, the type of experience needed for a new military vessel’s commissioning.”

Mary Anne Gray, executive director of Broward Navy Days, Inc., the organizers of the annual Fleet Week Port Everglades, is serving as chair of the USS Paul Ignatius Commissioning Committee that includes Port Everglades, the Fort Lauderdale and Broward County Councils of the Navy League, and representatives of numerous other local organizations. The Commissioning Committee is working with the Department of the Navy to plan the ceremonies and welcoming activities for the ship’s inaugural crew.

“South Florida has a special bond with each of the ships that have been commissioned here, and we know that this will be the start of a long relationship with the USS Paul Ignatius and her future crews,” chair Gray said. “There are many opportunities to become involved and support the commissioning of this incredible ship, and we encourage the public to get involved.”

For more information and to get involved in the USS Paul Ignatius Commissioning Committee, visit to browardnavydaysInc.org/commissioning.

* The ship is the sixth U.S. Navy vessel to be commissioned at Port Everglades, including the USS Leyete Gulf (1987), USS Cole (1996), USS Higgins (1999), USS Bainbridge (2005), and the USS Jason Dunham (2010). In 2012, the USCGC Richard Etheridge was also commissioned at Port Everglades, a U.S. Coast Guard's second Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter.

About Port Everglades

As one of Florida’s leading economic powerhouses, Broward County’s Port Everglades is the gateway for international trade and cruise vacations. Consistently ranked among the top three busiest cruise ports in the world, Port Everglades is also one of the nation’s leading container ports and South Florida’s main seaport for receiving petroleum products including gasoline, jet fuel and alternative fuels. The Port Everglades Department is a self-supporting Enterprise Fund of Broward County, Florida government with operating revenues of almost $168 million in Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018). It does not rely on local tax dollars for operations. The total value of economic activity related to Port Everglades is nearly $34 billion. More than 231,000 Florida jobs are impacted by the Port, including over 13,000 people who work for companies that provide direct services to Port Everglades. For more information on Port Everglades, visit porteverglades.net or email PortEverglades@broward.org.

DATE: May 21, 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Ellen Kennedy and Maisy Alpert, APR
Port Everglades Corporate Communications
PHONE:954-468-3508 or 954-468-3505
EMAIL: ekennedy@broward.org and malpert@broward.org
MEDIA CONTACT: J.W. Arnold, Broward Navy Days, Inc.
PHONE: 954-848-1894
EMAIL: jw@prdclonline.com