ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (KTIV) – We’re just 15 hours away from the historic commissioning of the USS Sioux City at the U.S. Naval Academy.
It’s historic for the city of Sioux City, and for the Naval Academy.
Sioux City has never had a ship named after it, and the Naval Academy has never had a ship commissioned at the academy.
When it was founded in 1845, the U.S Naval Academy covered just 10 acres in Annapolis, Maryland, and had just 50 students, called midshipmen, in its first class.
Today, the academy covers 338 acres and has 4,500 mids.
All of them live in one place… Bancroft Hall.
And, the rooms are anything but spacious.
Often two to a room, you’ll quickly notice how orderly the space is.
That’s a habit born on Navy ships where anything that wasn’t packed away became a floating hazard in an emergency situation.
Our tour guide, Bob Cepek was a member of the class of 1964.
He served 30-years as a surface warfare officer, and commanded two ships, and is passionate about the academy, and the lessons young midshipmen learn here.
“Here I received an education, excellent preparation for being a naval officer, and then being able to serve in the Navy for 30 years and go to so many interesting places in the world, and be a part of so much of our nation’s history,” Cepek said. “It was a true privilege.”
While the Naval Academy opened in 1845, it was rebuilt between 1899 and 1908.
Cepek says, during the Civil War, federal troops stationed here “trashed the place, so the academy was rebuilt between 1899 and 1908.
We talked to two Sioux City-natives, who are studying here at the Naval Academy: Natalie Wender, and Sam McGowan.
Natalie is a “first class” midshipman, which means she’s a “senior” in her final year at the academy.
Sam is a “fourth class” midshipman”, which means she’s in her first, or “freshman” year at the academy.
The chairman’s reception will begin in Dahlgren Hall around 6 p.m. Friday.
Commissioning committee chair Admiral Frank Thorp will host folks from Sioux City, and Annapolis, to thank them for their help is putting together a week’s worth of activities leading up to tomorrow’s commissioning.
KTIV’s Matt Breen will be live from Annapolis throughout the week. Stay tuned to News 4 for the latest updates on the commissioning. You can also follow Matt’s updates on the commissioning on Twitter.