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Museum Update 28 December 2021

Protect Their Legacies | Help Us Build A National Museum

Honor the stories of our forgotten sailors who fought for Freedom of the Seas. Donate to the National Museum of the Surface Navy before the end of the year to ensure work can begin in January and keep our timeline on course by clicking the donate button. This year only, a IRS special rule helps most people get a deduction of up to $600 for gifts to charity. Read more about how your support of the Surface Navy Museum may qualify here.

Preserving A 101 Year-Old Veteran’s Story

We had a phenomenal and delightful visitor on Dec. 16, 2021. 101 year-old Freeman Johnson was a machinist’s mate first class aboard USS St. Louis during the Dec 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. A year or so later, he was assigned to Brooklyn Navy Yard and USS Iowa. He was with Iowa for her first commissioning and the entirety of her WWII service.

He was full of fascinating stories and details about the war we’d never heard, and it was an absolute thrill to allow this remarkably-agile centenarian to visit his old duty station… at the bottom of Boiler Room #4.

Click the photo below for an inspiring and humorous journey with Freeman that includes glimpses into areas of a boiler room rarely seen by the public.

Their Stories Are Our Stories… And They Matter

Freeman is the perfect example of our mission for the National Museum of the Surface Navy. His story is our story – both in terms of the stories we want to preserve in the museum and in terms of its importance to the fabric of our nation.

He was a twenty-something sailor “just doing his job” through a few of the most pivotal events in twentieth century history, but as you’ll see in the video, his memories cover subjects you don’t find in war movies or documentaries. They’re the kind of detail that can only be discussed by those who lived those moments.

These stories exist everywhere. Just look at our crew. When you walk through the “horseshoe” – the officers’ quarters at the forward end of the ship, you pass the stateroom where the father of one of our volunteer tour guides lived during his time aboard.

Remember earlier this year when three of CIO David Canfield’s children were sworn into the Navy together by their grandfather, a retired chief warrant officer, aboard the ship on which their father served when he was about the same age they are now? What stories inspired the young Canfields to follow in the footsteps of their relatives?

You can help us create a living legacy of our maritime heritage. How?

And as a thank you for your donation to the Surface Navy Museum between now and the end of the year, we want to send a gift for your contribution:

  • $25 – Receive a National Museum of the Surface Navy Museum sticker
  • $50 – Receive a National Museum of the Surface Navy challenge coin
  • $250 – Receive a National Museum of the Surface Navy hat
  • $500+ Receive each of the items above

Please be sure to include your mailing address when you donate. Feel free to contact us at with any questions.

National Museum of the Surface Navy Plank Owner certificate

As a Plank Owner, you receive special benefits – including perks in our points system (details coming soon), and recognition on our Plank Owner listing.

Sign up today. It’s free!

And finally, from our family to yours, best wishes for a healthy, prosperous 2022.

NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to:
Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90731
Site developed by Wicked Code, Inc. and funded by The Edward E. & Marie L. Matthews Foundation •  Photos by Rick Stipa Photography
Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

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