USS Shenandoah (AD 44) Maiden Voyage • St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Photographer: BTFN Michael “Craig” Anders


On 7 November 1983 Shenandoah began her maiden voyage to her homeport of Norfolk. Steaming to Acapulco, the ship’s crew had ample time and opportunity to perform many readiness exercises and drills; including at least one “General Quarters” drill in the early morning hours.

An awards ceremony was held on 12 November honoring 300 crew members with letters of appreciation and commendation, and other citations including Navy Achievement and Navy Commendation medals.

Your Festive Cruise to Norfolk!

The Mexican Riviera, the scenic Trans-Canal adventure, Curacao, the miniature Amsterdam and St. Thomas, a shopper’s paradise surrounded by beautiful beaches are all to be enjoyed by crew members of USS SHENANDOAH (AD 44). Our itinerary offers a combination of the exciting ports-of-call available to major cruise lines in one fantastic month.

USS Shenandoah (AD-44) Maiden Voyage
USS Shenandoah (AD-44) Maiden Voyage

With three days in each port, everyone will have an opportunity to explore the scenery, shopping, beaches, sports activities and entertainment unique to each locale. Best of all, it’s free, and you’ll still be home for the holidays! Look for the future Plan of the Day (POD) notes, Departmental Port-Brief flyers and CCTV presentations for each port visit.

Acapulco, Mexico

Captain McNicholas and fellow SHENANDOAH Officers enjoying authentic Mexican cuisine.

Panama Canal, Rodman, Panama

The next stop was Naval Station, Rodman, Panama. The Panama Canal transit took almost eight hours and all aboard received “The Order of the Ditch.”

Order of the Ditch Certificate

Order of the Ditch| Reproductions

Digital reproductions of SHENANDOAH’s Order of the Ditch Certificates are available through PDF file download from TheToughTender’s Google’s Drive account.

The printed size of the certificate is 11″ tall, by 8-1/2″ wide. The digital file has been produced in full dimension, and is of extremely high resolution; file size approximately 24 MB.

Photoshop may be used to open the PDF file, and you may personalize your own certificate. The typeface is Old English Five Regular, font color #000000, size 12 pt, and in all capital letters. Print on ivory parchment paper for best results. If you do not have a high-quality printer, many office supply stores offer printing services and can print it for you.

Download Order of the Ditch Certificate Template

Personalization |

The work involved in producing a  personalized digital reproduction is free; it’s on the house. The cost of having it printed is entirely up to someone other than us. We can produce the personalized digital file, then transfer it to Google Drive where it may be downloaded.

Use the form below to provide the necessary information. Please allow one business week to receive notification that your certificate is ready for download.

Personalized Order of the Ditch Certificate order form:

Rate & Rank at time of Commissioning:
First Name:
Middle Initial:
Last Name:
Email Address:
Special Requirements:
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Please contact the Yeoman if you need assistance.

Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands