SAN FRANCISCO GIVES BATTLESHIP THE HEAVE-HO

By William M. Welch, USA TODAY March 8, 2006
Forwarded by YNCS Don Harribine, USN (Ret)

In the two years since the USS Midway found a permanent dock in San Diego Harbor, it has become a major tourist attraction. Nearly 900,000 people boarded the aircraft carrier in its first year of operation, rejuvenating shops and restaurants on the waterfront. The ship is booked years in advance for functions at up to $30,000 a pop.

Now the Navy has another ship it wants to bestow on a West Coast port: the big World War II battleship USS Iowa. But the ship has run into rough sailing and a harsh political headwind in the city the Navy thought would be an ideal home: San Francisco.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to spurn the ship. Supervisors who oppose the offer say they don't want a ship from a military in which openly gay men and women cannot serve. They also say they don't want it because they oppose the Iraq war, which city voters condemned in a 2004 ballot question. “I don't think the climate has improved for tying a 10-story warship, or gun, to the waterfront,” Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval says.

Veterans in the former Navy town are saying enough is enough. “It's outrageous, even for San Francisco,” Ingrid Sarembe, a Vietnam War-era vet and commander of an American Legion post in the city, says of the opposition to the Iowa. “And we have some pretty outrageous things going on here.”

Read the rest of the story by clicking HERE.

Meet the Board by clicking HERE.

… and read this letter from a thoughtful and logical citizen:

Fri, 10 Mar 2006
Dear Supervisors,

Please take a few minutes to read to this short statement in support of locating the USS Iowa in San Francisco. I am a third generation San Franciscan and my younger brother spent four years on the Iowa serving as a medic during WW II.

Like the WWII memorial in Washington DC, the display of these venerable warships represents a salute to the men and women who fought to preserve freedom in that distant war. I strongly believe that accepting the Navy's gift does not compromise those of you who are against the Iraq campaign and the policies of the current administration. It really is a museum item worthy of display in our beautiful and important city.

My brother has looked forward to once again board his ship, not in Stockton, but in his beloved San Francisco. Please reconsider your present position. This may be hard thing to do, having gone on record opposing the gift.

Nevertheless, I appeal to those of you who so voted to choose the harder right than stick with the easier wrong.

Sincerely,
Henry B Stelling, Jr
MGen USAF (Ret)

… and another from a senior veteran forwarded by p38bob@deepwell.com:

Sat, 11 Mar 2006

Bob - I do believe strongly that malignancy against a nation's military — its uniformed people and its sacred monuments and mementoes — is promulgated by defeatists and/or implementers of vested interest.

As you know, I'm a WW2 vet. Just two years ago I had the honor of visiting the venerable U.S.S. Arizona with all “hands” buried at Pearl Harbor… and the U.S.S. Missouri anchored nearby.

As I stood at the rail of the Arizona monument peering at the still surfacing oil slick I wept. So stirred was I at the memory of those heroes of whom I first heard when as a lad of 16 I listened to the radio announce on Dec. 7 the Japanese attack and its devastating results.

I saluted and departed, proud that this monument perpetuated the memory of what had happened there and who was left behind.

It would have been and should be the same with another great veteran ship denied entry to The Port of San Francisco. I suppose if the commercialism of “The Titanic” or even of “The Queen Mary” at Long Beach, California were attached to such a vessel, it would not only be welcomed but exploited to Nth degree by the city fathers of San Francisco.

Patriotism and gratitude should have been justification enough.

I despair at such limited mentality.

Respectfully,
“Doc” Ellis