Commissioning day  - 72 KB

The commissioning ceremonies for the PA33-21 were held on November 6th, 1999 at the Halter Equitable shipyard on the Industrial Canal in New Orleans - the site of one of the Higgins Industries plants during World War II.  More than 2,000 people attended the event, which was enhanced by the presence of the USCGC Harriet Lane and her crew.

The ceremony began with the presentation of colors by a joint service color guard, accompanied by the U.S. Marine Corps band, and an invocation and blessing of the boat by retired Archbishop Philip M. Hannan, who served as a chaplain in the Army Air Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division during the war.  For the blessing of the boat, which followed a tradition observed during christening ceremonies at Higgins Industries, Archbishop Hannan used water collected by the French Consulate from the surf at the Normandy beaches.

Following a welcome by Mr. Richard McCreary of Halter Marine, Mrs. Gayle Higgins Jones, the sponsor of the christening, spoke on behalf of the Higgins family.  Dr. Stephen Ambrose gave the event's keynote address, and RADM Paul Pluta, USCG 8th District commander, spoke and presented a USCG Distinguished Public Service Award, posthumously awarded to Andrew Jackson Higgins, to Mrs. Andree Higgins Stefferud and Mrs. Dawn Higgins Murphy.

The PA33-21 was then christened by Mrs. Jones, launched, and formally commissioned by Lieutenant Jimmy Duckworth II, USCGR, who also spoke about the Higgins Boat Project before presenting the boat to the National D-Day Museum on behalf of the UNO Foundation.

RADM Pluta

The crew then got underway for a short ride in the Industrial Canal so that all in attendance could get a good look at the PA33-21 in operation.

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