Pride of Baltimore II was officially commissioned on Sunday, October 23, 1988 in Fells Point, Baltimore. Hundreds crowded the docks to watch as Pride II was given orders to sail forth on her maiden voyage.
Following dedications by city and state officials and the blessing of the ship by Reverend William N. McKeachie, Commander Patrick Dunne, Captain of the USS Baltimore, gave Captain Jan Miles his commissioning orders. “Captain Miles, assume command of the Pride of Baltimore II and place her in commission,” to which Miles answered, “Aye, aye, sir. I am in command. Pride of Baltimore II is now in commission.” Miles then turned to his crew and order the raising of the flag. Two crew members hoisted a replica of the fifteen-star, fifteen stripe U.S. flag which flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. (It was the sight of this flag which inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”) The flags of Maryland and Baltimore and a Pride of Baltimore II pennant were quickly run up, joining the U.S. flag. As Pride II pulled away from the dock, firing her cannons in salute, the Navy band struck up “Anchors Aweigh.”
With an escort of three large schooners and a flotilla of smaller boats, Pride of Baltimore II took her first official tour of the Inner Harbor. It was a crisp, sunny day, and thousands lined the water’s edge to wave farewell. After eighteen months, Pride II was on her way, to not only carry on the mission of her predecessor, but to make her own history as Maryland’s ambassador to the world. –S.S.