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CEO Update June 1, 2021

Family and Friends:

Yesterday we remembered the men and women of our armed services who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom. Battleship IOWA’s Military & Veterans Affairs team hosted a virtual remembrance aboard the ship. You can view the replay on our YouTube channel. Part of the mission of our National Museum of the Surface Navy is to expand accessibility to our programs to a global audience. Virtual accessibility is a component of the strategy.

Memorial Day weekend has shown a strong rebound in attendance. Our numbers are still not at 100%, but we are building back up to it. With the increase in visitation, event rentals, and overnight program bookings, we have been able to focus on what our next steps for growth may be.

In my messages over the past couple of months, I have highlighted Vicky’s Dog House, which is being developed with support from the Navy Supply Corps Foundation, and more recently the expansion of the Veterans Resource Center. The team has been hard at work completing the build of Vicky’s Dog House, which has been relocated to the aft deck, very close to the location of the RPV containers in the 1980s. The Veterans Resource Center project has kicked off with greater accessibility being planned for the area on second deck aft including the crew library, CPO mess, and CPO lounge. My deepest appreciation to the entire team for supporting these efforts.

Work underway near the CPO lounge


The Veterans Resource Center is home to eight new personnel – all veterans – who will focus on peer-to-peer resource navigation and support. This program turn-up, in a short window of time, is no small undertaking and my deepest gratitude to both staff and volunteers that are supporting this effort. This program opportunity is in direct alignment with our plans for the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA in 2025.

Due to an unexpected, generous grant, we have been able to accelerate these plans by four years!  As more support builds for the National Museum of the Surface Navy, we are able to ramp up the timeline for programs and projects. If the trajectory continues with support and pandemic recovery, it currently appears that we may be performing large-scale refurbishment efforts late this year regarding space preparation. Do you have a project or program that you are passionate about? Reach out to our Development Team or myself at and let us know how you would like to be involved.

In the coming months we are focused on Vicky’s Dog House, Veterans Resource Center, hull preservation, bringing back staff on reduced hours, LA Fleet Week, an event in the State of Iowa, and Freedom of the Seas in October. It will be a very busy time and I couldn’t be more thankful and proud of the incredible team we call “crew.” A special shout out to the finance team for their big win in receiving the first quarter payroll tax credit last week, after spending long hours and effort on preparing paperwork and information.

The ship is a beehive of activity, passion and excitement abound, and it’s possible because of our crew and your support. In closing, on behalf of the entire crew, my most profound gratitude to the families of service members that lost their lives during service to our nation.

Stay safe and blessings for a wonderful week.

Jonathan Williams

President & CEO

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