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CEO Update: 27 October 2023

October 27, 2023

Dear Friends,

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of hosting our third annual Freedom of the Seas Awards, a truly prestigious occasion at the National Museum of the Surface Navy and aboard the Battleship IOWA.

The culmination of a year’s worth of dedication and hard work, this gala is our opportunity to honor outstanding leaders from the fields of industry, government, and the military who embody the principles and values of our nation’s Surface Navy. The venue itself, the Battleship IOWA, allows us to share not only the event but also the ship’s rich history with the hundreds in attendance.

The organization and execution of such a major event is no small feat, requiring approximately nine months of careful planning each year. Countless crew members and board members are involved in coordinating logistics, nominating deserving awardees, leading on stage, and securing sponsors for the event.

Annually, we are proud to provide several scholarships to students participating in the VADM Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. essay contest. Just as in previous years, we announced three new financial commitments to the scholarship fund at last weekend’s event.

I am thrilled to report that this year’s event was arguably one of our best to date! I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the entire team of board members and crew for their unwavering tenacity in crafting an exceptionally memorable experience. We are currently working on making the event recording available on YouTube in the next week or two for your enjoyment.

During the same weekend as the Freedom of the Seas awards event, a noteworthy Navy Environmental exhibit was introduced. This opening, which marks the first significant exhibition since before the pandemic, features a wide array of interactive displays that showcase the US Navy’s assurance of the preservation of our oceans.

We express our gratitude to the US Navy for their forward-thinking approach and unwavering support in launching this exhibit online, enabling the general public to gain insight into these vital initiatives.

Food At Vicky's Doghouse
Food At Vicky's Doghouse

I’ve received inquiries from several individuals regarding the status of the Battleship IOWA relocation. The outpouring of support and the substantial number of letters written have raised the prominence and importance of relocating the Battleship IOWA to the West Harbor development. This display of interest has significantly advanced the ongoing discussions, and I am cautiously optimistic that we will receive more clarity soon.

As of this moment, the Port has yet to make a final decision on the project, but they continue to review it and welcome feedback.

Prior to the challenges posed by the pandemic, various community groups expressed their support for the project, and we have had the privilege of seeing many of them reaffirm their commitment. My hope is that all these groups will reconfirm their support by late this year, leading to a decision in 2024. Once a decision is reached, I anticipate that it will take an additional three to five years to complete the necessary steps to relocate the ship. I will keep you updated as developments unfold.

Battleship USS Iowa and USNS Mercy

In the coming months, we will build on our recent updates to our vision and mission statements by developing a 10-year plan. This plan will encompass a broad perspective on the construction of a museum, the relocation of the ship, and the critical maintenance of the USS IOWA required to remain at the forefront of the museum community. We will focus on prioritizing these objectives to ensure that our efforts are both effective and efficient.

As we approach the year’s end, we kindly request that you consider including our organization in your annual giving plan. We have a range of programs and projects that could greatly benefit from your support.

If you have specific questions or particular interests, please do not hesitate to contact Kyle Aube at If you are inclined to make a donation, you can do so through the following links: or

Wishing you an exceptional weekend!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO
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