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CEO Update March 29, 2023

March 29, 2023

Crew, supporters, and friends,

Despite it being spring, parts of our country continue to feel the effects of severe weather. My thoughts and prayers for those affected by the tornadoes in Mississippi and my best wishes for a rapid recovery.

On Monday, we gathered our board of directors for our quarterly meeting. Our fiduciary board has representatives from throughout the nation, including three members from the State of Iowa and three Surface Navy veterans.

The meeting lasted almost three hours and we covered a variety of topics, such as financials, data, program impacts, development progress, maintenance, information technology, Surface Navy Museum updates, and more.  Some items of interest:


  • We are in phase 2 of 4 in Surface Navy Museum design with concepts of donor walls and building interior completed.
  • We have secured 4 major commitments towards the museum in the last quarter, added 7 new advisors, and stood up 8 Ambassador Corps committees, including the new CPO Mess.
  • We have experienced double digit growth in youth overnights, tours, and school groups. Kudos to the group sales, education, and tour teams for this significant accomplishment!
  • Our VPAN team is still the top performing district in LA, our SkillBridge program is growing, the tech team has made significant progress on shipboard upgrades and software, and the new Crew Advisory committee will begin to take on significant organizational challenges in coming months.
  • Escape the Mothball Fleet is booked every weekend and recently received rave reviews as a corporate team building event for a major entertainment corporation!
Message from the CEO - Feb 2023
Food At Vicky's Doghouse

Team building groups escaped the mothball fleet

Notwithstanding these extraordinary accomplishments, the team is still fighting the effects of severe weather. In his report Mike Getscher highlighted the challenges and effects on the ship and crew.

To summarize: we have experienced more than a dozen storms since January 1st with 171% of normal rainfall and a record-setting 35 foot wave off San Pedro. The ship has suffered broken gangways, damaged fencing, broken dock pilings, blown-out awnings, severed mooring lines, fantail tent damage, vehicle damage, and rain intrusion due to deteriorated decks. The cost has been significant, not just in financial terms with regard to expense and revenue opportunities, but in the exhaustion experienced by the team, which has had to always be on station reacting.

The storm damage has challenged the crew to new heights and I am proud of each and every person that has stepped up to respond, whether it is labor or financial support. Thankfully, this damage pales in comparison with what might happen if we had leaks in our hull requiring pumping, repair, and a potential $30+ million drydocking need.

Where do we go from here? We MUST continue to maintain our hull in spite of the issues involved with the deteriorating deck while actively looking for support for deck replacement and repairs.

Ultimately donations and earned revenue dictate what we can focus on, as they are key to impactful programs, ship maintenance, and overall organization operations. Your support makes an enormous difference in whether we are able to do more or less hull work, repair the areas on the deck that may be leaking, or paint the exterior when it comes time.

Please join me in contributing to the hull preservation campaign today.  If you are unable to, please keep us in mind if you are thinking about your legacy or win the lottery.

In the coming months, we will return to normal operations with warmer (and drier) weather. In the next quarter, we have exciting news about Vicky, new store additions, and LA Fleet Week. I hope you can join us this year at LA Fleet Week and see the great work that the crew is doing.

On a personal level, I gained about 10 lbs. during the first quarter due to unhealthy habits, specifically consuming a tad too much alcohol and eating bad food BUT I never stopped my exercise routine.

Last Thursday, I consumed my last drink through at least April and hopefully longer. I have survived three days of diet switching from foods with limited value to more vegetables and lean meats. Going on day 4, I am now readjusted, have more energy, and am feeling great.

There is no doubt traveling takes a toll, especially being on five flights last week alone, but that is no excuse to not adjust and adapt. Please join me on this journey to become and stay healthy! It is hard, but we can accomplish it together.

My deepest appreciation for your continued support and my best wishes for an incredible week.

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

A final note.

50 years ago today, on March 29, 1973, the United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disestablished. It was also the day the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam and on or around this same day, Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war.

This morning, a group of IOWA’s Vietnam vets rang the ship’s bell in honor of the occasion. Please join me in giving very special acknowledgement to them and their fellow soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who never made it home.

To say “thank you for your service” is far from enough, but maybe it’s a start.

Are you a veteran? Did you know Battleship IOWA and the National Museum of the Surface Navy have a number of programs designed with you in mind?

Are you a civilian who wants to give back to veterans who have served this country?

Click the button below for more information on how you can get involved with and support our veterans programs.

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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