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

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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…

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