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CEO Update 24 August 2021

Friends and Supporters:

The ship remains abuzz with activity despite the postponement of LA Fleet Week to Memorial Day 2022. The team continues to press to open Vicky’s very soon with several improvements in the works that will make the Battleship IOWA the premiere events venue on the LA Waterfront. Thank you to our crew and donors that have made Vicky’s and these improvements possible. A special shout out to the Navy Supply Corps Foundation for helping fund a large percentage of the cost of Vicky’s.

Instead of going into a summary of happenings on board this week, I am going to write about what we term “Freedom of the Seas” and the concept around the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA. Freedom of the Seas definition can be found on Wikipedia.
“Freedom of the seas is a principle in the international law and sea. It stresses freedom to navigate the oceans. It also disapproves of war fought in water. The freedom is to be breached only in a necessary international agreement. This principle was one of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points proposed during the First World War. In his speech to the Congress, the president said:  Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.”

I encourage you to read about freedom of the seas and reflect upon its role in the United States as a maritime nation. In designing the plan for the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA, we contemplated the role of the Surface Navy, particularly in how it impacts our country. The Port of Los Angeles, where the IOWA is moored today, is the busiest port in the western hemisphere and a direct beneficiary of freedom of the seas. Our Navy and Coast Guard ensure that sea lanes remain open so that the goods that we purchase daily transit the oceans unhindered and safely to our shores. This accomplishment is something to celebrate. Keeping the seas safe is a tremendously important role of our sea services for many reasons, including the number of jobs and lives directly tied to our ports and commerce.

Instead of designing a traditional museum that follows a timeline from 1775 to today, we instead are designing it around topics or galleries that cover important components of the Surface Navy. These galleries are further broken down into exhibits that expand the story of the Surface Navy’s role related to that specific exhibit. The reason behind this choice, is that the story isn’t linear with a start and stop point but is in fact ever-evolving and will continue as long as maritime commerce and international relations remain important.

On October 23, 2021, we will celebrate the concept of freedom of the seas with our first annual Freedom of the Seas Awards Gala. We are recognizing national level leaders who have played key roles in ensuring that our country remains an important maritime nation through a strong Surface Navy. We have supporters both individual and organizational at that level who recognize the importance of celebrating and educating our future generations on the importance of freedom of the seas.

With Fleet Week postponed, I will be spending more time reaching out to supporters and donors regarding this important event on October 23, 2021 and the National Museum of the Surface Navy capital campaign. In September, I have plans to travel to cities across the country for several meetings with supporters, donors, and partners. Please let Joleen Deatherage, Vice President of Development know if you are interested in supporting the Freedom of the Seas awards and/or our capital campaign.

In closing, my hopes are that this message answers any questions you may have regarding freedom of the seas and the “why” behind the museum. As always, please feel free to reply to this email to let me know your thoughts and comments.

My best wishes for a safe and blessed week.

Jonathan Williams
President and CEO

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