SAN PEDRO, Calif. – June 23, 2021 – The National Museum of the Surface Navy, founded aboard Battleship USS Iowa and scheduled to open in 2025, today named former U.S. National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien the recipient of the 2021 Freedom of the Seas Award. The award is presented to an accomplished individual who embodies the core principles of the American Surface Navy to protect and defend our oceans for the benefit of the free world. 

Ambassador O’Brien will accept his award and present the keynote speech at the 2021 Freedom of the Seas Awards, the premier annual event of the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship Iowa.  The event will be held on October 23, 2021, aboard Battleship USS Iowa in the Port of Los Angeles. 

An accomplished lawyer and experienced diplomat, Ambassador O’Brien served as the 28th U.S. National Security Advisor.  In that role, Ambassador O’Brien brought a renewed focus to defense and industrial base issues, orchestrated the historic Abraham Accords in the Middle East, brokered economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo, and achieved increased cooperation with America’s allies across the Indo-Pacific. 

Prior to his service in the White House, Ambassador O’Brien worked at the State Department as the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, during which time he coordinated the government’s diplomatic engagements on overseas hostage-related matters and successfully negotiated the return of over 20 hostages and wrongfully detained Americans. 

In addition to being named one of the 500 most influential people in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal, Ambassador O’Brien is the recipient of the National Security Medal, National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, National Defense Service Medal, and the Kosovo Presidential Medal of Merits. 

The annual Freedom of the Seas Awards event is held in honor of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, considered to be the largest naval battle of World War II.  Attendees invited to the exclusive event include top leaders from the education, veteran, community, industry, government, and military sectors.

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. Owned and operated by the nonprofit Pacific Battleship Center, the museum is transitioning to national museum status as the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA to open on the 250th birthday of the U.S. Navy in 2025.

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