CEO Update – April 18, 2023

April 18, 2023

I write this message as I am aboard a plane returning to the State of Iowa for meetings on Tuesday. This trip will involve a quick return to Los Angeles for the 34th anniversary of the April 19th event aboard the ship at 0930. 

This time of year is generally extremely busy for our team, as we prepare for LA Fleet Week and our summer season. In 2023, we have the additional layer of severe storms and the design and fundraising for the National Museum of the Surface Navy in full swing.

No matter how busy our schedules may be, April 19th reminds us of how precious life is and how important our commitment is to the past, present, and future. Despite approaching twenty-three years of involvement with the USS Iowa, I have tended to take a backseat role at the April 19th event. I have always felt strongly that this event is about allowing the crew, friends, and families to gather in their journey of healing. 

They come aboard to share stories, memories, and experiences, as each of them leads a life in memory of the IOWA 47.  There is no dispute the Turret II explosion that occurred on April 19th, 1989 was a tragic accident which affected close to two-thousand shipmates and thousands more family members and friends.  

Out of tragedy, comes good.  The IOWA 47, their shipmates and families provided us with the guiding light in the formation of our veterans’ programs. They drive today’s crew to be better, more innovative, and to push the envelope to be extraordinary. The memory of the 47 has helped thousands of veterans and their ship – their home – has provided an unforgettable experience to hundreds of thousands of children, and welcomed millions of visitors.

It is in their memory that we will build the next generation of museum, which will be transformational in the way people visit and reflect upon a historic ship.

To the shipmates and families of the IOWA 47: have confidence that we will never forget them. They motivate us to change the world and will be remembered for future generations.

Many, if not all, of you may have challenging and emotional times on the day, week, or month of the anniversary, but please know that you are not alone and that only you can make the choice to make a difference in their memory. Reach out to each other and/or our veterans’ team to share your stories, tears, and memories. Live the best life that you can in the memory of the IOWA 47.

It is my commitment to never forget the IOWA 47, as we go about our journey through history.  I hope that you will join us on this journey as well.

Best wishes to you, your family, and friends this week.

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO



If you cannot make it to the ship tomorrow, please click the button below to join us live at 9:30 AM on our YouTube channel for the ceremony. The feed will remain in our videos when the ceremony concludes, so you can watch any time.

P.S.  For those of you who may be interested… A quick summary of the happenings in my world. 

The past couple of weeks have included a few days of vacation installing rock on our gate pillars, traveling to Iowa twice for fundraising meetings, discussing and brainstorming museum design, supporting the team especially in lead up to LA Fleet Week, creating a plan for our Crew Advisory Committee, and a trove of meetings from fundraising to presentations. 

I will be in L.A. and aboard ship from the 19th through next week, as we welcome our oldest son’s band to perform aboard IOWA this coming Sunday (23rd) morning. 

Are you part of a performance group? Reach out and let us know if they would like to perform aboard the ship.

Your support, volunteerism, and donations make a world of difference and make it possible for us to strive to be the best.  My deepest appreciation to each of you for your support.

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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