The arrival of the new state-of-the-art Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw at Navy Pier, 600 East Grand Avenue, on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. will be a big time event.
First the cutter will be welcomed in grand fashion by Fire and Police boats, a live military band and hundreds of students throughout the morning. The welcome is organized by “Chicago’s Christmas Ship” Committee, International Shipmasters’ Association, Chicago Marine Heritage Society, Friends of the Marine Community, Chicago Yachting Association, Navy League of the United States, U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary and Navy Pier.
On Sat., Dec. 4, 2010 at 10 a.m. near the “Captain at the Helm” statue south of the Navy Pier entrance, the Mackinaw will follow “Chicago’s Christmas Ship” tradition by bringing Christmas trees for twelve hundred deserving families in the Chicago area. Three families, representing the more than twelve hundred families who will be given trees this year, will be present to receive the first Christmas trees.
Following the Christmas tree event, will be a presentation of colors by the North Suburban Young Marines from Great Lakes, Illinois and a memorial wreath laying ceremony commemorating the Merchant Marine officers lost on the Great Lakes. There will be a dramatic fly over by a United States Coast guard helicopter carrying a memorial wreath that will be placed on the waves near the Chicago lighthouse if conditions permit.
Guest speakers include: Rear Admiral Michael N. Parks, Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District; Commander Scott Smith, Commanding Officer, US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw
Honored Guests include: Commander Robert E. Bailey, Jr., USCG, Commanding Officer, Marine Safety Unit Chicago, and Lieutenant Peter J. Piaza, Commanding Officer, Marine and Helicopter Unit, Chicago Police Department.
Public Tours of the USCGC Mackinaw will be provided on Fri. Dec. 3rd and Sat. Dec. 4, 2010 from 1:30 – 5 p.m. The ship USCGC expects to depart Chicago on Sunday, December 5, 2010.