The Current Situation, The Next Steps, How You Can Help (Now)

Categories: Project Updates

Thank you for your patience as we sort out our options and work to develop an action plan going forward.

At a board meeting yesterday, we concluded the following:

USS JFK in RI

A rendering of the USS JFK at her new home (TBD). It stands to reason that if we can identify an appropriate mooring site on property not owned by the Navy, we will be in a strong position to argue for the return of JFK to donation status.

The fat lady hasn’t sung yet.

We still have a couple of cards to play, and until we have exhausted ALL our options we want to hold back from any massive email or letter-writing campaign.

When and if we do launch a public appeal to top Navy leadership and our representatives in Congress, it must be positive.

The last thing we want to do is alienate the very people who have the power to give us what we want. At the appropriate time we will provide talking points to help you craft those messages.

To further explain the situation as we see it:

  1. There are two separate (but very related) issues in play here, and two different commands within the Navy dealing with those issues. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) controls the disposition of the ship, while Naval Facilities Command (NAVFAC) controls the real estate—and the piers.
  2. The way we read the tea leaves, NAVFAC’s decision not to allow us access to Pier 2 in Coddington Cove causes NAVSEA to believe we don’t have a site to berth the ship—thus the potential move toward scrapping JFK.
  3. It stands to reason that if we can identify an appropriate mooring site on property not owned by the Navy, we will be in a strong position to argue for the return of JFK to donation status.
  4. We need 60 days to review those alternatives. The engineering analysis involved will cost money, so we are setting up a separate fund just to cover those expenses. If everyone on this page were to donate $50 to this year-end appeal, we would be well-positioned to do the work necessary to justify a reconsideration by the Navy.

Donate to the Engineering Fund Today

Please consider a year-end tax-deductible contribution to the Engineering Fund. In the meantime, we are working tirelessly to locate another mooring spot for “Big John”. We have come this far, we are not giving up now!

–Frank Lennon

9 Responses to "The Current Situation, The Next Steps, How You Can Help (Now)"

  1. Kelly Lancey Posted on May 30, 2018 at 10:55 PM

    I was onboard the JFK from 1997-2000 as a Machinist Mate petty officer. I worked as the only female amist the 40 plus guys I served with. Nothing would give me more pleasure than seeing the JFK turned into a museum where I can take my two boys and show them where their mom worked hard for three years.

  2. Michael Young Posted on May 23, 2018 at 9:06 AM

    I’m saddened by what I hear…
    That JFK can’t use that pier….
    I was really hoping that She….
    Would become an attraction for all to see…
    It would be such a shame to lose Her now…
    I really do hope it will work out somehow….
    I know the Rhode Island group is working hard…
    To try and keep Her from going to that scrap yard…
    Let’s all hope and pray, that before We die, there will be a day…
    When We can walk The Decks again of our first JFK…

    Written by Mike Young. Plank owner

  3. Louis Sangiovanni Posted on May 22, 2018 at 11:17 PM

    Big John was my home from 1968 – 1972. I was in P-1 division and worked in 4MMR. I agree that a southern port would be a better location. I always thought the perfect fit would be the Kennedy Space Center. There is an established tourist base and the addition of a carrier museum bearing the Kennedy name would be the most logical choice provided there is ample space to fit such a large ship.

  4. Ian Duncan Posted on May 7, 2018 at 10:44 AM

    As a New Englander I of course prefer any path that sees the JFK remaining in New England.

    Is Battleship Cove a possibility? Berthing the JFK in its namesake’s home state certainly sees desirable to me.

    Is there anywhere in Boston? Quincy? Portsmouth? Hyannis?

    I’m sure you’re looking at all this; keep up the good work!

  5. Robert E Chase Posted on April 24, 2018 at 3:05 PM

    I too was ship’s company(76-79). Admiral Tuttle was my last Commanding Officer. I grew up with an admiration for Lt. Kennedy add so was proud of my assignment to the USS John F. Kennedy, and greatly regret leaving the Navy…and Big John. I now live back in Pensacola, Fl, the home of naval aviation, where the USS Lexington USED to be based as a training carrier, and the channel was dredged in order to acommadate a deeper draft carrier for training purposes upon the Lexington’s decommissioning…which we never received. Training has since been moved to Corpus Cristi and so the Lexington’s bearth lies unused. Where I would be MORE than proud to once again “serve” aboard her, as a volunteer…on weekend’s of course, since I still work a full time job. Just saying.

  6. Gary Rohrer Posted on March 2, 2018 at 8:41 AM

    I am a Plank Owner of JFK (1967-70) and served in the CS Division. I was on the bridge for her commissioning tasked with launching the U.S. flag (ensign). I’ll never forget the sight of the Blue Angels.soring overhead immediately, thereafter. Having the joy of sailing her down the James River and on to GITMO for her first time and on to the Med was a memorable experience.

    I think Joe Chmelik’s idea of a southern port makes a LOT of sense. I visited the USS Midway last May (2017) and was highly impressed with the success of that program and the number of volunteers, many “former” Navy pilots, and others that made that visit so smooth. The habitual inclement weather in New England would probably be very detrimental to any “above deck” displays and exhibits that are the hallmark of the Midway. I will make a (good-faith) contribution to the Engineering Fund in hopes that you are able to find a suitable/acceptable permanent mooring for JFK.

    • Michael McDonald Posted on March 27, 2018 at 12:55 AM

      My grandfather was a plank owner as well

  7. Joe Chmelik Posted on February 11, 2018 at 11:08 PM

    “Big John” was my first ship in my 23 year career. Serving on board her from 1972-1975, CR Division. Arrived as a RMSA and transfered off as a RM2 for orders to Naval Communications Unit London UK in support of Commander in Chief US Naval Forces Europe. I feel Florida would be a better berth for the Kennedy. I know the history of the Kennedy family, but think of the volunteers and tourist that would be available to keep Big John alive! I am one of the over 1000 volunteers serving the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. With the number of retired military in the area and having the cruise ship terminal just on the next pier, makes it an ideal spot for visitors from all over the world. We are now averaging over a million visitors a year. Consider the climate too. Miami is pretty nice year round, but Rhode Island would be hampered by cold and snowy winters. Who will be available to shovel the snow off her decks? Think about it before it is too late…

    • James Chmelik Posted on May 23, 2018 at 7:49 AM

      I totally agree with Joe! Yes, I served on Big John, got brother duty orders (yes, lived to regret too!) but she’s gotta be moved
      to a warmer climate, where she can be toured all season, not just spring, summer and some of fall (weather permitting). Boston
      was always my favorite choice due to the ships namesake. But let’s face it, Boston doesn’t have the nicest spring and falls. Too
      bad somewhere in Georgia or Florida isn’t available.

      I currently live in Virginia (yeah, didn’t think that would happen either) but i’d would travel to the NE or SE to visit my old ship!
      Plans on going to Philly to see the old girl and let her know, she’s not forgotten……

Leave a Reply