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CEO Update July 19, 2023

Dear Friends,

This week, I am returning from Des Moines to Los Angeles, and I want to share a heartwarming experience with you. A few months ago, our oldest son requested that we take a of his friend along to see one of his favorite teams, the Iowa Barnstormers, play. After careful consideration, I realized that our time with our son at home is limited, and I should seize this opportunity to spend quality time with him. So we traveled to Des Moines to enjoy a football game together, and as always, I managed to incorporate some organizational activities into our trip.

During our visit to Des Moines, I had the pleasure of meeting several supporters, participating in a radio interview, and attending a meeting at the state capitol. It is always a joy to visit Iowa, and it becomes even more fulfilling when we have the chance to showcase the wonders of this state to new visitors. I am confident that we have gained new supporters for IOWA who will spread the word about its warmth and the true meaning of Iowa nice!

Over the past few weeks, a small group of us have been focused on crafting, revising, and refining our strategic plan. At the same time, our communications team has been hard at work on a presentation that allows us to engage with supporters and gather their feedback on our current and future plans and activities. The small but mighty communications team, consisting of retired RDML Charlie Brown, Ron Ploof, and Marann Fengler, has shown exceptional commitment and dedication to this endeavor.

Their commitment exemplifies the broad base of support and volunteers within our organization. However, we have always faced the challenge of effectively articulating the impact our organization and museum have on people’s lives. It is easy for all of us to focus solely on the iconic Battleship IOWA as a remarkable piece of industrial art and historical significance. Yet, in reality, her significance stems from the people who designed, built, served, continue to serve, and support her. Without these individuals, she would be nothing more than a steel structure.

Ultimately, the Navy’s mission is about people, not just ships. It revolves around protecting and saving lives by sailing the world’s oceans, safeguarding commerce, responding to humanitarian disasters, and being ever-ready to prevent or alleviate suffering.

USS WINSTON CHURCHILL conducting counter-piracy training in the Atlantic


We carry on this legacy of service to our community, and as we evolve into the future, we aim to have an even stronger impact on our nation. However, despite our very real impact, we face challenges in effectively conveying it.

Since 2012, we have highlighted our impact as follows:

  • Annually generating over $11 million in economic impact, leading to a thriving community
  • Supporting 280 full-time equivalent jobs each year, positively impacting the community through spending, housing, and more
  • Educating over 2.5 million people since 2012, resulting in increased knowledge, opportunities, and ultimately changing lives for a better future
  • Supporting more than 200,000 veterans, saving and empowering lives, enabling successful transitions and transformations
  • Assisting 5,000+ community organizations and activities that contribute to building a more resilient community, especially in the face of major catastrophes
  • Nurturing thousands of youth, adults, and seniors, accumulating over 500,000 volunteer hours, resulting in improved mental and emotional well-being

We frequently hear stories of how we have changed someone’s life, whether it be in their career, instilling hope and inspiration, fostering a sense of community and belonging, aiding in transitions, saving their business, or creating impacts that are yet to be fully understood.

These stories occur so regularly that we have overlooked the importance of documenting and sharing them with supporters like yourself. Our crew consists of hundreds of passionate individuals who witness this impact every day. It has become so commonplace that we sometimes forget what fuels us to accomplish incredible things daily—it’s the people!

Food At Vicky's Doghouse

In the coming weeks, I challenge each of you to contemplate why you are genuinely interested in our organization and how we may have influenced your life. Take a moment to reflect on the meaningful relationships you have, whether they are with friends, family, shipmates, or a place of connection like the Battleship IOWA and National Museum of the Surface Navy. We invite you to share these stories with us at, and with your permission and anonymity, if desired, we would be honored to share these stories with others.

By doing so, we can effectively highlight the genuine impact of our activities, where the Battleship IOWA serves as the iconic symbol of each supporter’s dedication and passion. I had the opportunity to reflect on this, as I witnessed the impact my ‘friends’ from the ship have had on our leaders of the future while in Iowa.  

I look forward to hearing your stories and I wish you all an incredible week filled with cherished moments spent with your family, friends, and teammates.


Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

Scuttlebutt Podcast | Season 2 Episode 11: Why Do We Do The Things We Do?

We’ve gotten the question, “Why did you turn the turret” a lot in the last couple of weeks. We get it frequently in response to the out-of-the-box ideas that end up making ship the special place it is. In this podcast episode we answer the “why” behind what we do.

Find it here or wherever you get your podcasts:

• Spotify
• Apple
• Google
• Amazon
• Buzzsprout

Or head over to YouTube for the video version.

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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.

From now until September 30, 2023, use the promo code NMSN23 and get an EXTRA 3 MONTHS added to your membership! Click below to learn more and join.

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Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

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