CEO Update 22 February 2022

Get On Board | National Museum Of The Surface Navy

Signing up as a Plank Owner for the National Museum of the Surface Navy opens the door to perks redeemable through the Haze Gray donor benefit system, launching soon.

For more information about how you can support the museum and its programs and operations, please contact Kyle Aube.

Update from CEO Jonathan Williams



I just returned from leave on the Big Island of Hawaii. During my wife’s and my trip we experienced an almost normal return to tourism – restaurants were busy and the resort area booming. Our flight yesterday was sold out and they were seeking volunteers to stay behind on the island for another day. As tempting as it was, we were also excited to return home and to the life we love.

Today (February 22nd), we celebrate the ship’s 79th original commissioning anniversary. I have been invited to present on our organization, the ship, and the Surface Navy Museum to a local group in our family’s hometown. This opportunity is special for me, as I have never had this opportunity to talk about the ship that we all love to a group of folks that make up our small town of primarily farmers and hard-working Americans.

The past week is the first time in years (probably since before the start of this organization) that I didn’t check email or remain in contact with the ship’s team while out on vacation. I was always available via cell phone, but I am thankful that our team is capable and confident to accomplish their jobs with no need to call. 

As I opened my email today, I was excited to see more great things the team is working on. I am proud of every member of our crew for their commitment and dedication to the organization and their daily professionalism in achieving incredible accomplishments. You once again highlighted how talented of a group you truly are!

As disconnected as I may have seemed, I was still checking social media and occasionally posting the beautiful sites that we enjoyed on our Big Island adventure. While checking social media, I was able to view and share the information that our team posted regularly on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I enjoyed the art displays from afar that were brought aboard ship on Saturday for the Vets Art Café and the associated support sessions that our veterans group assembled. There were a couple of veteran artists I wished I had the opportunity to see firsthand. I hope to have a chance again to connect with them.

Throughout the week, I would receive occasional texts from friends and supporters sharing news and information. One such text shared a half-page picture of the Battleship IOWA in this year’s Visit California travel guide! I was very excited to see it, especially after ten years of pushing to gain visibility. You can see the picture on Page 106 of the guide.

This Wednesday, we will hold the annual VADM Samuel L. Gravely Experience. Over one-hundred students will have a chance to hear from leaders in business, government, and industry who have broken barriers and achieved greatly despite the odds. This luncheon is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for each of the students to gain insight on building a successful future.

We are blessed to have several sponsors and supporters of this event including Marathon Petroleum, Collier Walsh Nakazawa, Tanya Acker, Mike Shatynski, Sandra Adams, Dr. Barbara Shannon, Tiffany Ellerbeck, and others.

Following the Gravely Experience, the Battleship IOWA Surface Navy Association chapter will have a meeting and gathering aboard the ship at Vicky’s. If you are not yet a member of the Surface Navy Association, please sign up and choose the Battleship IOWA chapter.

Despite the challenges we faced over the initial ten years, our crew and supporter base unified to create one of the most impactful museums on the West Coast serving thousands of veterans, students, and community members annually. This achievement is in addition to the hundreds of thousands of visitors that tour the historic Battleship IOWA annually (during a non-covid year).

As part of our annual year end close process, our finance team prepares our financial statements for an annual audit, which will be completed in the next couple of months. Following our audit, we will be able to assemble our annual report highlighting our 2021 efficacy. I am more excited than ever to see the incredible growth and impact we have made in 2021.

As we look at the near-term, our team will continue our innovative hull preservation work, prepare the Surface Navy Museum spaces, introduce our exciting new escape / scavenger hunt-like experience, launch Haze Gray donor benefit system, plan the annual LA Fleet Week event over Memorial Day, and begin our return to normal meetings and gatherings to garner support for the National Museum of the Surface Navy.

If you haven’t had a chance to support the National Museum of the Surface Navy, you can do so by becoming a Plank Owner, reaching out to our development team to discuss a legacy recognition opportunity, volunteering as a crew member, and helping spread the word.

Thank you for your commitment, dedication, and support for our organization’s mission. Your effort directly impacts veterans, students, community, and our nation’s future.

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

battleship iowa view from 09
NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to:
Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90731
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