CEO Update 28 September 2022


We have returned from the annual Historic Naval Ships Association (HNSA) conference, which was held in Honolulu, HI. The hotel selected for the conference was the same hotel where my adventure with historic naval ships began in 2000, when my grandfather and I ventured to see “his ship” – none other than the USS Missouri, as he grieved the loss of his wife of almost sixty years. 

It was a trip down memory lane for me, as I visited his grave at Punchbowl and attended a wonderful banquet aboard USS Missouri. Thank you to the the planning team including the crew from the USS Missouri, USS Bowfin, and HNSA for their efforts in creating an incredible event.

Mike Getscher, our COO, is the new chair of the revitalized Preservation Committee and brought together industry best practices for ship personnel to learn, as we address the long-term maintenance of the historic ship fleet. 

Click below to see his opening video.

On Friday, I presented on strategy planning to reach a primary goal of “sustainability.” We set the course with Battleship IOWA eight years ago to transform into a community platform of engagement, discussion, and community resiliency. The team has adapted, adjusted, and developed incredible programs which serve thousands of youth, adults, seniors, and veterans annually. This path was no mistake, and we continue to grow on this foundation by leveraging the ship to help people in a unique waterfront destination. We are proud of our accomplishments to date, but our evolution into the National Museum of the Surface Navy is the biggest and most exciting.

While away, the team aboard IOWA continued to do amazing work; I am proud of their incredible commitment to the community, ship, and organization. As mentioned in last week’s note, the ship was host to a special citizen swearing in ceremony which required significant effort by the entire crew to support.

The veterans team hosted a couple of different events including a Disabled Veterans Empowerment Network Cars & Camo event and Not on Our Watch 2022.

On September 22 the Refinery & Environmental Safety Council United hosted a mixer aboard the ship and during this event Phillips 66 presented our Veterans West program a check for $28,000 towards our veterans’ program.  We are deeply appreciative of their support towards our veterans programming!

On Monday, the board of directors met to review the past quarter of activity. Program numbers are up year over year and in many cases are increasing over pre-pandemic numbers. As I prepared the metrics dashboard, I beamed with pride to see all areas growing and vibrant! Kudos to each department in which we have metrics for a job well done including education, veterans, tour, development, sales, marketing, events, food & beverage, and volunteer.

The support provided from “behind the scenes” departments of operations, IT, security, administration, and accounting are essential in support of these measurable metrics. Unfortunately, many of these departments have more difficulty quantifying “numbers,” yet if any one of them “drops the ball,” the results could be catastrophic.

The last quarter of every year is when we revisit our accomplishments over the past twelve months and look forward to setting goals for growth and improvements. We will begin project planning for the National Museum of the Surface Navy on Wednesday, as we explore infrastructure improvements necessary to support the museum. This meeting will be a multi-hour effort, and we plan to exit it with a project plan to guide the construction process of the museum.

Concurrently, the designer will be visiting this week to collect more information on the ship and location to bring the concept materials closer to completion.

As we look out over the next three years, we are prepared to adjust the phases of the museum depending on the financial support contributed. There is no doubt that we will open a National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA on October 13, 2025; the only unknown is how immersive, big, or impactful it may be – and those parameters will ultimately be determined only support from generous contributors.

In October, we will present museum concepts for feedback to several interested parties with a culmination presentation at the annual Freedom of the Seas Awards on the fantail of the IOWA, on October 22. We have four incredible award winners planned for this year and are thankful for the support we have received to date, which primarily goes towards covering the event costs.

For more details on Freedom of the Seas, please visit our website. If you are interested in attending and/or supporting, please reach out to

My family and I will end my week on a flight to Des Moines, IA to visit the University of Iowa as a potential college for our oldest child. I am looking forward to visiting friends in Iowa and showing this beautiful state to my wife and children. I will briefly fly back on October 4 for a special presentation by Assemblymember Mike Gipson at 10:00 AM and return to Iowa that afternoon.

This presentation will be a once-in-a-lifetime show of support for our organization, and I am hopeful that you will join me in thanking Assemblymember Gipson for his support. I am keeping the presentation content a secret but trust me – you will be excited!  If you are interested in attending, please click the button below.

My deepest appreciation to each of you for your continued support and advocacy.  Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you.

Have a great week!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO


P.S. As we get closer to the end of the year, please consider a gift towards our organization to help fund the incredible work we do in education, veterans, community resiliency, and the future National Museum of the Surface Navy.  You can do so by clicking the button below.

Scuttlebutt Podcast | Episode 125

At Battleship IOWA we have a passion for veterans, so when we find a program that does extraordinary things for them, we have to share.

Check out our conversation with Warrior Sailing Program director Ben Poucher to find out the unique ways he and his team are making a life-changing difference in the lives of ill and wounded service members.

Find it wherever you get your podcasts or here:

Or click below to access the YouTube version.

Support Veterans | Get Coffee

You’re just a few clicks away from supporting veterans and enjoying the rich, bold, smooth taste of Don Francisco’s Coffee!

Don Francisco’s Coffee is helping us meet our goal of raising $25,000 by the end of 2022 in support of Veterans West, the military and veterans affairs department of Pacific Battleship Center. Click the link below to learn how your donation can result in coffee being delivered to your door for a year.

Freedom of the Seas Annual Awards Gala

This year’s Freedom of the Seas Awards Dinner will be held Saturday, October 22nd. Interested in attending or becoming a sponsor for the event? Click here.

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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Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

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