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 Former United States Ambassador to China and Governor of Iowa Will Broaden National Awareness and Support for the Nation’s First Museum Dedicated to the Surface Navy

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – Feb. 23, 2021 – The National Museum of the Surface Navy, founded aboard Battleship USS Iowa and scheduled to open in 2025 as the nation’s first museum dedicated to America’s Surface Navy, today announced the naming of former United States ambassador and governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, as National Campaign Co-Chair. Branstad will join a prestigious leadership team that is charged with providing the guidance, knowledge, diversity, and leadership to transition Battleship USS IOWA to a national museum.

Branstad, who most recently served as the U.S ambassador to China from 2017 to 2020, was the longest serving governor for the state of Iowa, served three terms in the Iowa House of Representatives and served as president of Des Moines University. The Iowa native will hold a crucial role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of Battleship USS IOWA by helping to broaden national awareness to provide the relevancy and support that will be necessary to preserve the IOWA into the future.

Branstad served as the governor of the state of Iowa during the battleship’s Cold War recommissioning in 1984 and when the ship was awarded as a museum to Pacific Battleship Center in 2011. “I’m deeply committed to the future of the Battleship and am honored to serve as national campaign co-chair,” Branstad explained. “Not only is this historic ship my state’s namesake, but my role as ambassador to China has given me first-hand knowledge of the impact that freedom of navigation plays in international relations and the critical role of the Surface Navy in protecting and assuring the security of the sea lanes for international trade.”

“There could be no finer or more appropriate individual to serve as our national campaign co-chair than Ambassador Branstad,” said retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mike Shatynski, Chairman of the Board of the National Museum of the Surface Navy. “His deep personal and professional ties to Iowa combined with his impressive background in international relations brings a unique level of insight and support that will contribute greatly to bringing this state-of-the-art museum to life aboard the IOWA.”

When the first national museum dedicated to the Surface Navy is launched in 2025, the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship Iowa will honor the millions of sailors that have served aboard thousands of ships since the founding of the U.S. Navy in 1775. A diverse variety of programs and exhibits offered through the high-tech museum will educate the public on the importance of the Surface Navy’s role in Freedom of the Seas in areas including international relations, free trade, humanitarian assistance, and technological innovation.

“Since 2011, the citizens of the state of Iowa have contributed $4.65 million towards the refurbishment and maintenance of their namesake ship,” said Jonathan Williams, president and CEO of Battleship Iowa Museum. “Battleship IOWA is key to the national museum as its primary artifact and an iconic symbol of the Surface Navy. Ambassador Branstad was a key supporter during his service as governor of the state of Iowa and we are thrilled to have him continue his direct support as we move into Battleship Iowa’s next stage as it transitions from one of the top attractions in Los Angeles to a national museum.”

The free Plank Owner program provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for individuals to show their support for the National Museum of the Surface Navy prior to its opening aboard Battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro at the Port of Los Angeles.

Click here to learn more about the National Museum of the Surface Navy. Click here to learn about the programs and tours available now aboard Battleship USS Iowa.

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About Battleship USS Iowa Museum


Located in the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Calif., Battleship USS Iowa Museum is one of the top five museums and attractions in Los Angeles, bringing the ship’s history to life through in-person and virtual tours and educational programs for youth. In addition to providing a natural platform for veterans and patriotic civilians to come together as a community, Battleship USS Iowa Museum provides a wide array of impactful programs and resources that support the critical needs of our military and veterans.


The museum is operated by Pacific Battleship Center, a 501c3 non-profit organization solely supported by admissions, donations, event space rentals, and gift shop.  We do not receive government funding for our operations.


Media Contact:


Ken Hagihara, APR, Fellow PRSA, MCM

Integrity Public Relations, Inc.

949-768-4423 ext. 101


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