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CEO Update 26 October 2022


The crew is recovering from our second annual Freedom of the Seas Awards event this last Saturday. Annually, the event is held in honor of the Battle of Leyte Gulf anniversary, the largest naval battle of World War II and in the history of the world. The awards honor those who embody the core principles of America’s Surface Navy to protect and defend our oceans for the benefit of the free world. 

The sold-out crowd joined us in honoring Secretary Tom Vilsack, RADM Sinclair Harris, California Trucking Association, and Jim Zenner for their contributions and leadership in maintaining Freedom of the Seas.  Additionally, several students were awarded scholarships as part of our VADM Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. awards

Congratulations to the award and essay contest winners!

The evening began with a cocktail party which was relocated to the fantail tent due to misting weather along the Los Angeles Waterfront, or in some cases aboard the ship. Chaparral High School NJROTC color guard led by CDR Bill Lauper presented the colors prior to the beginning of an extraordinary dinner inspired by the winning team of 2022 Galley Wars from the U.S. Army.

The dinner was catered by San Pedro’s famous restaurant J. Trani’s and Galley Wars judge Dustin Trani with the menu including swordfish and short ribs. In attendance were leaders and friends from government, military, diplomatic affairs, defense industry, port operations and logistics, labor, manufacturing, oil and gas, professional services, Hollywood, construction, veterans services, education, non-profit organizations, community, first responders, and members of our museum’s various boards, committees (especially the awards committee), and crew.

Throughout the evening the audience heard remarks from VADM Roy Kitchener, Commander Naval Surface Forces, RADM Samuel J. Cox, Navy History and Heritage Command, retired RADM Mike Shatynski, Chairman of the Board, Bran Ferren, Applied Minds Creative Officer, television judge Tanya Acker, Bruce DD MacRae, UPS Vice President, and a fun evening of emceeing by retired FLTCM Joann Ortloff.

This evening wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of our crew and sponsors. Thank you to our incredible crew of staff and volunteers for their commitment and dedication including those from development, events, marketing, education, operations, security, tour, information technology, volunteer services, veterans’ services, marketing, and accounting. Special recognition to Kyle, Francesca, Melani, Catherine, David C., Troy, Marann, Tiffany, Dave M., George, Sue, Cesar, Eric, Louis, Larry, Jenny, Carolina, Mike G., Forrest, Frank, Dan and Joyce, Fred, James, Brian, Tyler, and Mike (and friend) for their commitment and dedication!

Thank you to our sponsors and donors including Lockheed Martin, Marathon Petroleum, Port of Los Angeles, UPS, Surface Navy Association, Collier Walsh Nakazawa, Geveden Industrial, Fincantieri Marinette Marine, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, ILWU Local 13, Huntington Ingalls Industries, SAAB, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Leidos, Vanessa Lewis & Ross O’Brien, Tanya Acker & Randy Douthit, Europa Village Wineries, and Eberle Associates. In addition, we had several people who donated after being inspired during the event to support our museum and organization.

Our crew is “all in” to open the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA in 2025, and recent events such as Freedom of the Seas Awards and LA Dodgers playoff games show off our capabilities. Over the next couple of weeks, the ship will host several additional events, some catered by our Vicky’s Doghouse Café team – including a bingo night, first responders meeting, and our annual community Halloween STEMabration sponsored by Marathon Petroleum and SoCalGas.

Interested in renting the ship for a private event? Reach out to Catherine at for more information. Have no doubt, your contributions, support, and advocacy have made it possible for us to make an incredible impact on the community while raising public awareness on the importance of our Navy’s role to the future of our country. 

In the coming months and years, we will be hosting and attending several meetings and presentations to gain feedback and advice on the new museum. The initial draft concepts for the museum are inspiring and I look forward to sharing them with each of you.

In the meantime, have an incredibly blessed week and as always, please let me know how we can make your experience with our organization better.


Jonathan Williams

President & CEO

Scuttlebutt Podcast | Episode 128

We finally have CEO Jonathan Williams back in the house, so we corralled him for a wrap up of this year’s Historic Naval Ships Association (HNSA) conference. The theme was hull maintenance, a crucial part of operating a historic vessel as a museum, and in this podcast episode, we talk about the future of the industry with regard to preserving ships that were never intended to last as long as they have.

We referenced a video COO Mike Getscher and his team put together for the conference. You can find it here: HNSA 2022: Love ‘Em or Scrap ‘Em

Find Scuttlebutt wherever you get your podcasts or here:

Or click below to access the YouTube version.

Support Veterans | Get Coffee

The Gaviña Family – founders and third-generation owners of Don Francisco’s Coffee – is committed to supporting the veterans and families we serve. They are generously helping us meet our goal of raising $25,000 by the end of the year in support of Veterans West, the military and veteran affairs department of Pacific Battleship Center, to help us provide important, impactful programming.

Click the link below to learn how your donation to Veterans West can result in coffee being delivered to your door for a year, so that you can enjoy the rich, bold, smooth taste of Don Francisco’s Coffee.

NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to: Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA 90731 Thank you to our 2021 donors for their generosity and support. Want to know how your donations are making a difference? Check out our ANNUAL REPORT here.
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