January 23, 2016
S.S. United States Nominated for National Trust’s America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places List
Preservationists hope Congress will act to protect historic vessel
Washington DC -- The National Trust for Historic Preservation has included the storied ocean liner United States (SSUS) among its 2016 nominees for its prestigious “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list. The nearly 1000-foot ship still holds the North Atlantic speed record it took on its maiden voyage in 1952 and is considered by historians as among the most important engineering feats of the Twentieth Century.
“This is a great honor for our great national flagship,” said Robert Hudson Westover, whose organization, the S.S. United States Foundation, filed the nomination application with the National Trust. “The last time the SSUS created this much excitement was when the Foundation successfully petitioned to have the ship placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.”
Although the SSUS is currently owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), Westover’s organization would like to see the ship converted into maritime museum celebrating American’s history at sea. This vision, however, seems to be at odds with NCL’s stated plans of returning the United States back to sea as a modern-day cruise ship. NCL has owned the vessel since April, 2013.
“The Foundation can see no possible scenario were putting the ship back to sea wont result in destroying the few historic elements which remain after nearly 30 years of auctioning off items, environmental deterioration and just plain neglect by her previous owners,” said Westover. “The only historic elements that remain are her two impressive
ten-deck-high engine rooms and her overall streamlined outside architecture which is unique among ocean liners.”
According to Westover’s organization, these important historic elements would have to be removed or greatly altered because of the economic necessities of competing in the modern cruise market.
The Foundation hopes that if the National Trust selects the S.S. United States for the “11 Most Endangered” list it will help their efforts in Congress to bring about legislation to protect the ship from any further damage to its historic integrity.
About Us: The SS United States Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting and restoring one of our country’s greatest maritime symbols: the SS United States the greatest ocean liner ever built and our national flagship.
Registered as a 501(c)(3) organization in Washington, DC, the Foundation is committed to saving the "Big U" through an engaged and innovative advocacy movement based primarily on the internet at: www.ssunitedstates.org
March 15, 2015
Documentary filmmaker Tim Phillips and his nationally respected production
company is moving forward with plans to produce a film about the great S.S.
United States! The documentary will be shot in High Definition (HD). Tim's
Washington DC based production company, Rock Creek Productions, has been
working on this project for several years now.
(As many of you may remember, Tim attended the SS United States Foundation's
50th anniversary gala on board the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.)
Tim would like to interview as many former crew members, passengers and Big
U experts/enthusiasts as possible. For this reason, he and his film crew
will be attending the following Foundation events (please plan to attend and
share your stories!):
April 9th memorial for Mike Alexander at Kings Point
April 30th Foundation annual meeting on board the USS New Jersey
May 22nd Big U boat tour and Union League Mansion event in Philadelphia
If you can't make it to these events please call (703) 625-3037 or send and
email with your story and I will forward it on to Tim. He will contact you
if your story fits the framework of the production.
We Will Save the United States!
Robert Hudson Westover
SS United States Foundation
March 6, 2015
Dear Friends of the SS United States,
2015 is shaping up to be a very pivotal year for the future of the great
national flagship SS United States. Aside from some very encouraging
response in the United States Congress on possible legislation to designate
the Big U as a national monument we will be gathering at numerous events
throughout the year. (Details for these moving and exciting events are below
in the Chairman’s Update.)
Some of the events are as follows:
· This April 9th we will celebrate Mike Alexander’s life and love of the Big
U at the American Merchant Marine Museum in Kings Point, Long Island, NY
· This April 30th we will host the SS United States Foundation’s 8th Annual
Meeting on board the USS New Jersey!
· This May 21st the Foundation will host a Life Time Achievement Award
Tribute for maritime author Bill Miller at the Lockwood Mansion outside New
· This July the Foundation will host a Washington D.C. area “Friends of the
SS United States Gala!” (Date and location to be announced in the next
After two years of ownership by NCL, the Big U still languishes at pier 82
in Philadelphia. In this timeframe the only official indications of the
current owner’s intent for the vessel are vague at best with dates of
possible refurbishment pushed out to 2010 by some accounts. With this type
of uncertainty, we cannot take a “wait and see” approach. If by chance, NCL
should elect to divest itself of the United States it will be too late to
mount a serious campaign to save her. The type of national movement needed
for a successful strategy to save such a large and significant American icon
has to be ongoing, consistent and completely independent of any taint of
compliance with the current owners. To keep the purity of our cause intact,
and our motivations free from the suggestions of conflict, this Foundation
has never taken a dime in donation money from NCL. And we never will.
To this end the Foundation will continue to lobby Congress until legislation
is introduced and passed giving this national treasure we call United States
back to her people. There are few moments in history when citizens of all
backgrounds unite to save a treasure of such importance. There will never,
Never be another SS United States. Nor will a gutted “modernized” cruise
ship piled on the hull of the great ship suffice as an acceptable
alternative to a proper restoration of an irreplaceable national icon.
Many have asked me how can we take on a giant corporation and win? I say
just look at the history of those who have fought for something against
insurmountable odds and have won. We can all recall such examples. These
united and determined citizens fought on even when all seemed lost for their
“weapons were not carnal but might through the power of God to the pulling
down of strong holds.”
The “weapons” of determination, passion, dedication and resolute action will
always win if they are applied. What the SS United States symbolizes towers
far above the worth, influence or power of any corporation. She is named
for our nation. She helped to end the cold warone of the most deadly
conflicts in world historyhow can any entity stand in opposition to that?
It is this power of determination, passion, dedication and resolute action
that this Foundation and its members embody. Every storm that has washed
over our decks has only made us a stronger and a more united organization.
This organization, is not just saving a ship, we are saving part of America
and therefore part of all of us.
The 8th Annual Meeting of the S.S. United States Foundation:
This April 30th the SS United Foundation will host it's 8th Annual Meeting
on board the storied battleship USS New Jersey! Directly across the Delaware
River from the SS United States, the USS New Jersey offers a stunning view
of the Big U as well as equally stunning views of Philadelphia's skyline. As
always, the annual meeting will be open to the public and attendance is
free. However, since seating is limited Foundation members will receive
first priority. The meeting will held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an hour
Additionally, the good folks on board the battleship have put together a
special package for those attending the meeting. Aside from donating space
for us to host our meeting in such a nationally significant ship, we have
been informed that those attending the Foundation's meeting will also be
permitted to tour the vessel for a nominal fee of only $5.00! I can think
of few sites as symbolic for us to gather and plan our new strategy to Save
the United States’ historic integrity. For information on directions and
parking or other questions about the USS New Jersey please visit their
We will have a lot to talk about at the annual meeting. The exact direction
this organization takes in dealing with the current owners will be decided
upon and implemented shortly thereafter. Please make plans to attend and
send your RSVP by April 15th. Also you can contribute your suggestions via
e-mail or letters before April 30th, 2015.
Riverboat Tour of the SS United States and Dinner Event at Union League
The date for the Union League Yacht Club’s SS United States event will be
this May 22. The day will begin with a private riverboat tour of both the
United States and the USS New Jersey. Guests will we taken from the League
House Mansion to the yachts for the tour, which will be narrated, by both
the Foundation Chairman and President. Guests will then be taken back to
the mansion for cocktails and dinner followed by a multimedia presentation
on the history, present circumstances and hopeful future of the national
flagship, which will be hosted by Chairman Westover.
The Union League has graciously allowed for members of the Foundation to
attend this very exciting and elegant event. The cost for the entire day’s
activities will be only $90 which includes, transportation to the yachts for
the riverboat tour, the riverboat tours of the United States and New Jersey,
dinner at the historic mansion and the presentation! Please RSVP by April
15 if you wish to attend. Make your check out to the Union League Yacht
Club. This event is exclusively for Foundation memberssorry but space is
limited. Members of the media who would like to attend need to contact the
Foundation by calling 703-635-3037.
For more information about the Union League Yacht Club and mansion please
The Life Time Achievement Award Tribute for Bill Miller will be held the
Saturday May 21 before the League Mansion event (May 22). We are still
waiting for final pricing arrangements and will send out a separate email
once all the details are hammered out.
Mike Alexander Memorial Service at Kings Point:
The SS United States Foundation cordially invites everyone to a gathering
and reception at the American Merchant Marine Museum in Kings Point, New
York on Saturday, April 9th, 2015, from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM. The gathering
is to honor Mike Alexander, a founding Board member of the Foundation and a
driving force behind the resurgence of the SS United States into the public
The Foundation and its members will gather at the American Merchant Marine
Museum, at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New
York, on Saturday, April 9th, 2015 to tour the Museum's extensive collection
of artifacts from the vessel to honor Mike's memory.
For more information, please visit the SS United States Foundation's website
at www.ssunitedstates.org , or the Museum’s website at
Please remember that all of these important events, and our grassroots
lobbying activities could not happen without your generous support. We
depend on your tax-deductible donations. Please send your donations to the
address below. And, remember, the SS United States Foundation is the only
Federal 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to protecting
the historic integrity of the national flagship as designated under Section
8 of the National Register of Historic Places*.
We Will Save the United States!
Robert Hudson Westover
SS United States Foundation
Tax Deductible Donations Mailing Address: SS United States Foundation, P.O.
Box 853, Washington DC 20144
*A clarification about the listing of the S.S. United States on the National
Register of Historic Places: It would seem that other groups/individuals
are claiming to have carried out this long and arduous task. The fact of
the matter is it was the Chairman of the S.S. United States Foundation who
pushed the nomination through several layers of historic commission
recognition. It was your Chairman and President (Matt Smith was the SSUSF
chairman at the time) that attended and testified at both the Philadelphia
and Harrisburg Historic Commission hearings that resulted in a unanimous
vote to nominate the S.S. United States for listing on the National
Register. The only involvement by any other groups/individuals came when
the National Register asked the Foundation to obtain reports from other
experts on the technical features of the ship. So, yes, we did rely on the
expert reports of many. However, the submitting of a written report is by
no means taking a leading role in the nearly two-year process it took to get
the vessel listed on the National Register and those who claim such a
leading role should produce evidence of their attendance at the various
historic commission meetings and/or a detailed explanation of how they went
about contributing to securing the nomination without any regular and or
consistent contact with officials at any of the above mentioned government
January 10, 2015
Dear Friends and Supporters,
2014 was an incredibly successful year for the S.S. United States Foundation
and we are starting 2015 off with a bang! The Board of Directors has voted
to select Dan S. Trachtenberg as organizations new President. As the
President of the only Federally recognized tax-exempt 501c3 nonprofit
organization seeking to save the S.S. United States, Dan will be working
with the Board to implement our new strategies for the coming year.
To start with, Dan has already lined up world-renowned maritime historian
Bill Miller to speak at the 8th Annual Meeting of the S.S. United States
Foundation! (More details below) Dan has written an insightful introduction
letter (or reintroduction letter as this is his second term as President) to
the membership which is attached to this update.
Adding to this exciting news for 2015 is an invitation for Chairman Westover
as well as President Trachtenberg to present a program on the history of our
great national flagship to the prestigious Union League Yacht Club of
Philadelphia this April 29th (the date might change to April 22nd--we will
have the exact date shortly).
The event will include a riverboat tour of the S.S. United States and the
battleship New Jersey as well as dinner and a presentation by the Foundation
at the historic Union League Mansion across the street from Philadelphia's
City Hall. Tickets will first be offered to members of the yacht club and
than to the members of the Foundation. We will send an update as to when
you can purchase tickets to this exciting event.
2015 will also be the year that the Foundation seeks to have legislation
formally introduced in Congress to protect the S.S. United States and have
her turned into possibly a national maritime museum, oceanic research center
and training vessel or all the above.
The Foundation has had a professional grassroots lobbyist meeting with House
Congressional and/or Senate members, (including Senior Staff), from the
Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, California, Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, Hawaii, District of Columbia and Virginia delegations. The Chairman
reports that the members of Congress he has met with are extremely excited
about preserving the S.S. United States and restoring her to her original
Throughout the year, the Foundation will send updates regarding our progress
in Congress. Remember, to continue sending your letters of support to your
Congressmen and Congresswomen. Additionally, please remember that all your
financial contributions are making this effort possible.
Unlike other Big U organizations that have a more commercial focus and rely
heavily on donations from corporations, we receive all our operating cost
from the membership of this organization and we thank all of you for your
generous support in 2014--which brings us to the next section of this
The Accomplishments for 2014
· Over 200 new members joined our cause to Save the United States in 2014.
The bulk of these new members joined after reading Chairman Westover's
full-page article on the history of the Big U in Sea History magazine, the
publication of the National Maritime Historical Society.
· The second wave of membership was directly related to a stirring hour-long
NBC News broadcast of the history of the Titanic which included a 20 minute
narrative of the S.S. United States as it related to the incomparable
William Francis Gibbs and his connection with Philadelphia.
· The third wave of membership was due to the exciting (and now largest)
exhibit of the history of the S.S. United States on board the RMS Queen Mary
in Long Beach, California. This exhibit is entering its third year and the
Foundation still receives numerous inquires, and new members directly from
those who were moved by the exhibit entitled All Hands on DeckSave the
The Foundation has plans to enhance this wonderful exhibit in the near
future as well as contribute to the Smithsonian exhibit to be launched in
· Foundation placements in The New York Times and USA Today as well as many
full-page articles in prestigious maritime publications including Maritime
Matters, Sea History and Professional Mariner as well as radio and TV.
broadcasts, reached millions of Americans in 2014. We look forward to
another spectacular year of media coverage in 2015--possibly the best year
· The Foundation's comprehensive history book "S.S. United States, Fastest
Ship in the World" was picked up by distributors around the world including
a book-selling company in England, Wal-Mart Stores, the world famous Mariner
Museum in New Port News and many other distributors and book sellers.
Our Legislative Agenda:
· Armed with hundreds of letters of support from members across the nation,
the Foundation comprehensive lobbying strategy has opened doors and ears in
Congress to what we are saying: Save the United States in all her splendor
and historic integrity and NO, we DO NOT welcome a historically destructive
faux redo or an ugly hotel on a barge, rather, we envision a ship of power
and grace, restored to her original glory the only ship worthy of the name
· www.ssunitedstates.org continues to be the website of choice for those
wanting to take action to Save the United States. With millions of hits
yearly the Foundation owes a great deal of gratitude to the one man who for
six years has done this thankless and time-consuming job, Mr. Paul Robinson.
Now the proud father of two boys, Paul carried has out his duties
When the Foundation's Website was selected as Yahoo's "Pick of the Day" in
April 2013, over 2 million visitors in three days time came to see what was
going on with this organization and they return whenever we get a
substantial media placements, like this year. Thank you Paul!
We hope to have you serve until the great ship is safe and secure.
Sadly, 2014 also brought the passing of the S.S. United States last master,
Commodore Leroy Alexanderson. In honor of the Commodore, the Foundation
worked to make his passing known to the world. We contacted media
throughout the nation resulting in the Commodore's life being celebrated in
"the newspaper of record" The New York Times, as well as The Washington
Post. The fascinating story of Mr. Alexanderson's exciting and rewarding
life was picked up by the Associated Press in Philadelphia, and consequently
the world. Sail on, Sir!
The S.S. United States Foundation Board of Directions, Washington, D.C.
A message from the new President of the S.S. United States Foundation:
Talk about full circle! After an almost four year absence, I once again can
proudly speak to you all as President of the SS United States Foundation.
When I resigned in 2001, personal issues aside, I thought I had accomplished
all I could for the SS United States. We had several fabulous years, and I
felt there was little more to do but sit on the sidelines and watch and
see what transpired. In that time, much has changed. Our ship remains, as
she has been, proud, determined, but tired and fading. At rest for 35 years
now, more than double the number of years she was in service. At rest but
eager to move again, eager to serve more than the seagulls. Many with ideas
both genuine and ridiculous have come and gone. Of course, in 2013, an
exciting possibility unfolded when Norwegian Cruise Lines entered the fray,
with bold plans for the future of the vessel. She would sail again, they
said, under the NCL America banner. Since that time, little action on the
part of NCL has taken place. Promises and rumors have once again set in.
Doubts about the vessel are once again the norm, the cruise industry being
the money-driven entity it is adding fuel to the notion that the bold
ideas for the SS United States, put forth by NCL, may never see the light
I finally realized that I no longer wished to remain retired from the
fight. I felt that the message had been lost. The disagreements from all
sides had clouded the primary issue; the SS United States should be saved
and allowed to serve a purpose again beyond nostalgia. The SS United States
is the proudest maritime achievement for this country. She must not be
allowed to finally die on some far off beach, she deserves better.
In many respects, the SS United States Foundation has come full circle as
well. We are planning an exciting 2015. Our Annual Meeting is tentatively
being scheduled for May in the New York area, the vessels homeport. We
will sponsor tours of local Museums that showcase artifacts from the vessel.
The highlight of the meeting will be a gala reception honoring Maritime
Historian and Author William H. Miller, Jr. The author of countless
masterpieces on the subject of ocean liners, Mr. Miller has a long
association with the SS United States. His 2 works on the vessel, SS UNITED
STATES, THE STORY OF AMERICA'S GREATEST OCEAN LINER, and PICTURE HISTORY OF
THE SS UNITED STATES are benchmarks. It promises to be a fabulous evening.
As the planning moves forward we will surely inform you all as to the date,
place and time.
Heres to a wonderful 2015. Together, we will save the SS United States!
Very truly yours,
Dan S. Trachtenberg
SS United States Foundation
November 10, 2014
Dear Friends and Supporters of the S.S. United States Foundation:
Many exciting things to report on our greatly expanding "Save the United
States" national awareness campaign! Here are some of the highlights
contained in this update:
· Smithsonian exhibit update
· Queen Mary exhibit update
· History Channel broadcast
· Dan Trachtenberg is back in the saddle
Updates from the S.S. United States Foundation:
Second Term President?
Bringing in the brass...Dan Trachtenberg, the former president of the
Foundation from 1999 to 2002 is once again serving the noble cause to Save
the United States and is currently serving, by special appointment of the
Chairman, as an advisory board member. Dan's return to the Foundation is
greatly welcomed and he has already been spreading the good news of our
efforts at the Seventh Annual Maritime Heritage Conference in Norfolk, VA.
Dan will be hosting our eighth annual meeting this spring at an exciting
venue soon to be announced--welcome back Dan!
Smithsonian--Well Worth The Wait
The Foundation's contacts at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
have again confirmed that a new exhibit featuring the S.S. United States
will be installed sometime within the next 18 months. Sorry for the long
installation timeframe, but this exhibit will be something to be talked
about for years to come.
The Queen Mary Exhibit That Just Keeps Getting Better!
"All Hands on Deck--Save the United States", the hugely successful
Foundation exhibit on board the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA will be
reworked in the near future and we would like to know if anyone would like
to loan items for the updated exhibit. The Queen Mary has over 2 million
visitors a year and a good percentage of those visitors have been through
the Foundation's exhibit, which features many historic items and a
multi-media presentation. For more details on contributing items to this
exhibit, please contact the Foundation via e-mail or call us at
Selling Like, Well, A History Book!
The Newport News Mariners' Museum is now selling the Foundation's first-rate
book "S.S. United States, Fastest Ship in the World" (Turner Publishing).
The book continues to be a hot item and we just received a message from a
gentleman in Paris who has read our history of the Big U!
Speaking of History...This Is History In The Making!
The History Channel will air a Veterans Day special (half-hour broadcast),
this Thursday, November 11 (see local listings for air time) featuring
Chairman Westover and three generations of his family who served in the
United States Marine Corps. Mr. Westover and his grandfather were
interviewed by the History Channel at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San
Diego (MCRD SD) for this Veteran's Day special. (Three generations of
Westovers graduated from MCRD SD.)
One of the most highly decorated Marines of his generation, Mr. Westover's
grandfather witnessed the devastating attack at Pearl Harbor and watched the
USS Arizona go down as well as fighting at the landing on Iwo Jima where he
witnessed the now immortalized flag raising. He later served in Korea. Mr.
Westover's father passed away 10 years ago but is remembered in the Vet's
Day special with both Mr. Westover and his grandfather recounting his
service as well as in several photographs. The show is narrated by Jennifer
Love Hewitt and will be distributed to every high school in America. In over
90 million households across America, the History Channel is one of the
largest cable networks in the world.
Through the contacts Mr. Westover has made with the History Channel, he has
had the opportunity to share the unique history of the great United States
so look for ever-increasing coverage of our national flagship in upcoming
The Foundation wants to thank all of you for your overwhelming support and
the continued response from the last mailing. Historic integrity does
matter and we will Save the United States!
The S.S. United States Foundation Board of Directors,
From The Chairman - September 20, 2014
Dear Friends and Supporters:
The S.S. Untied States Foundation has many exciting developments to share
with you! Our "Save the United States" campaign is reaching out to a larger
and more diverse audience than ever before. In many instances new members
had never even heard of the S.S. United States before being made aware of
the national flagship from us. And the message is clear: She is indeed
ready for restorationa wholehearted restoration of all that she embodies.
It is for this reason we as an organization exist. The Foundation has a
responsibility to actively pursue what we feel is the best option for
preserving this treasure of America maritime prowess.
Irresponsible modernization that would seek to destroy the historic
significance of the United States as stated in the National Register of
Historic Places is something we cannot accept. Calls by some that this is
the “only option” is just not an honest assessment of the future of the
vessel. Many historically sensitive restorations fill the pages of
historyalmost every town or city in America can point to such examples.
These careful and consciousness restorations happened because the hearts of
those who sought to save these treasure was bigger than the ill-informed
minds of those could not see beyond a ledger sheet.
About Those Engines: When asked what speeds the powerful engines of United
States could achieve, William Francis Gibbs said this: “Joe Stalin would
like to know”. The engineering and designs of the United States were so
significant and so important to our naval supremacy that they were a closely
guarded secret for many years after the passing of her designers. These
engines brought the maritime world to its knees when the United States broke
speed record after speed record during her sea trials and on her maiden
How could anyone who claims to care about the history of this great ship
want to see her very soul ripped from her?
Unfortunately, NCL has gone on the record stating that they will replace the
engines of the United States. Some have tied their hope for the restoration
of the Big U to this same company that if they follow through with their
stated plan to “modernize” the Big U will achieve one objective for certain:
The de-listing of the United States as set forth in the National Register.
De-listing from the National Register may not concern some, but it concerns
us. Nothing would please this organization more than if NCL agreed to at
least keep some portion of one engine room intact, but to date they have yet
to open a dialog with us on historic preservation issues that would not
result in de-listing the Big U from the National Register.
This Foundation worked too hard to get the S.S. United States listed on the
National Register to just give blind confidence to a foreign owned
corporation with no experience in historic restoration that we are aware of.
To this end, we as an organization are moving forward as never before with
our awareness campaign. As the only 501c3 non-profit corporation devoted to
the restoration of the Big U, the Foundation is uniquely positioned to carry
this tremendous responsibility to the general public. We are not just a fan
club reliving her past glory (however enjoyable these reunions are) we are
and always have been a strong and focused advocacy foundation working to
secure a more historically responsible future for the great ship. Here is a
progress report of our ongoing activities:
· Media Awareness: Recent coverage in major newspapers, TV broadcasts and a
full-page article in the venerable publication “Sea History” are just some
of the awareness the Foundation has generated in just the past nine
monthsmore updates to follow shortly on an exciting national TV broadcast
to be released shortly.
· Project Capitol Hill: In the halls of the United States Congress
representatives of the Foundation have been speaking with elected officials.
The new legislative project is already reaching some of the most influential
members of Congress.
· Exhibits: Aside from the hugely successful SS United States exhibit
onboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach CA, the Foundation is working with two
major International organizations on exhibits featuring the S.S. United
States that will be opened to the public in the very near future. Millions
of visitors will see these exhibits and this is truly an exciting break
though for generating awareness on a dramatic national scale and a vehicle
that will generate an entirely new level of membership in the Foundation.
(We will announce the names of the organizations hosting the exhibits and
the opening dates once we receive approval from these organizations.)
· The Foundation’s official Web-site www.ssunitedstates.org will be going
through some exciting updates over the next few months.
· New Members: Scores of new members have been added to the Foundation’s
rolls this year alone and we hope to hit the 1500 mark by years end!
All of this is happening because of your dedication and support on many
levels. Nothing of what we have accomplished and what we are currently
achieving would be remotely possible without you. We will Save the United
Robert Hudson Westover
Chairman & CEO
Dear Members and Supporters of the S.S. United States Foundation:
"The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated..." So spoke Mark Twain when gossip swirled through the media of his day and many newspaper's published his obituary. He of course was not dead and certainly neither is the S.S. United States Foundation. Over the passed few weeks there have been policy and leadership disputes. We have now emerged with the entire Board agreeing that we should maintain the focus of our organization.
Unfortunately, as can happen and often does in non-profit corporations, several board members disagreed with existing policy as explained in the by-laws of the Foundation, and these same board members disagreed with other administrative decisions of the Chairman & CEO. I am sad to say, these board members, instead of protesting the majority board's decisions, in formal resolutions in a board conference, chose to resign. Nevertheless we are moving forward resolutely with the majority of our board members. If you have questions and/or comments on the above issues I encourage you to send and email to [email protected] or [email protected] I will gladly explain why certain policies and administration decisions were made.
I wish those board members well who have decided to pursue their vision of the future of the great United States without the support of this Foundation. But we as the board of the foundation have to adhere to the by-laws of this organization that clearly state: A director of this organization must have an appreciation of the historical importance of the SS United States and support the continued historic integrity of the ship as stated by the National Register of Historic Places under [criteria 8] the "compelling national significance" criterion.
This does not mean that this Foundation has declared "war" on Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) nor does it mean we have "declared" anything on NCL. They own the ship. We realize this. What is important to remember in this journey to save a great American icon is that we, as an organization have a historic imperative to meet and answer to to the best of our abilities the substantive preservation of our beloved SS United States. We have a responsibility to the nation to preserve, as much as reasonably possible, the great legacy of this ship which according to the National Register includes the engine room(s) of the United States as well as the remaining architecture. Together we need to firmly advocate for as much of our original ship as possible. This does not assume confrontation with any other entity, but rather a clear commitment to our purpose.
Far from waning in our noble cause to Save the United States we have just begun to spread awareness of the plight of the former national flagship. The following is a white paper (below) recently assembled highlighting our accomplishments to date.
I think you'll find after reading the highlights of our historic successes as a unified organization, like our great ship we work to preserve, we have been built to last, and can handle any storm, and with our "torpedo proof hull" any attacks. Thank you for your continued support.
We will Save the United States,
Robert Hudson Westover
Chairman & CEO
S.S. United States Foundation
Executive Summary Overview
Saving the United States
Launched in 1998, the SS United States Foundationís (SSUSF) Save the United
States awareness campaign has proved to be one of the most successful media
and public relations campaigns ever undertaken to save a unique American
icon. This is evidenced in the number of active national and international
members, worldwide media impressions, Web site ranking, awards and
recognition the SS United States Foundation has achieved for Save the United
With well over 1000 active national and international members and chapters
throughout the country, the SSUSF is the largest non-government
sponsored/funded historic preservation effort in the nation.
Media impressions have totaled in the hundreds of millions and include
primetime broadcasts on CNN Live (June/July 1999), The World News Service of
the BBC (Sept. 1999), ABC World News Tonight (2010), CBS Nightly News and
MSNBC (1998/99/00/01/02/03). Both the New York Times (April, June, October
1999,/Feb. April, 2013/ Jan. 2014)and USA Today (2013/2014) have covered the
story of the national flagship, United States, numerous times since 1998.
Magazine placements include full-page pictures in National Geographic (Sept.
2002) and the final edition of Life Magazine (May, 2000). Numerous
international newspapers including The Herald Tribune, The Buenos Aries
Herald and Swedenís leading newspaper have covered the story of the effort
to Save the United States.
The SSUSFís Web site (www.ssunitedstates.org) is one of the most viewed Web
sites in the world and regularly is ranked among the top one percent of the
ìtop one percentî of Web sites worldwide. Since 1999, the Foundationís Web
site out ranks the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Trust
for Historic Preservation combined. In April of last year, the award
winning Web site was selected as Yahooís ìPick of the Dayî when it surpassed
two million hits in 24 hours.
Save the United States received two Addy Awards, and several international
Web site design awards.
On Flag day,1999, The SS United States was listed on the National Register
of Historic Places by the Foundation under the ìcompelling national
significanceî category. The Foundationís efforts to rescue the SS United
States have been recognized by President Clinton and Englandís Queen
SSUSF Board of Directors
Robert Hudson Westover
Chairman & CEO,
Philadelphia Chapter Chair
May 13, 2014
PO Box and Mailing Difficulties
There were some problems with the Foundation's PO box which have been corrected. If you had mailed anything to the Foundation and had it returned, please send again.
March 4, 2014
Commodore Leroy Alexanderson Laid to Rest
Commodore Leroy Alexanderson, last skipper of the SS United States,
was laid to rest yesterday after a service at Fort Monroe's Chapel
of the Centurion. The sun was shining and the seas were calm.
The master mariner is now at peace.
Today's New York Times ran Commodore Alexanderson's obituary; a
link is provided below:
March 4, 2014
Statement from Norwegian Cruise Line
Yesterday Norwegian Cruise Line issued a statement about its plans for the SS United States. The full text follows.
"Recently, NCL sent a project team to Philadelphia to conduct an extensive technical review of the venerable ship. We would like to report that she is in good shape and we are taking very good care of her. We have also cataloged over a hundred boxes of blueprints that we received from the previous owners. Although not a complete set, the drawings will be of real help to our technical team with their work.
When we announced the purchase of the S/S United States in April last year, we talked about her potential to become a state-of-the-art modern cruise ship in our U.S. Flagged fleet. We also talked about the fact that the purchase and restoration of the vessel would be a long-term project as we focused on Project America and our work to restore a new U.S. flag operation to the cruise industry. We intend to do our part to return the U.S. maritime industry to the greatness it once enjoyed.
As I&Mac226;m sure you can imagine, this is a huge task. For example, without a single U.S. flagged oceangoing cruise ship presently in operation, there is no trained base of American crewmembers to tap, so we must find them and train them all. We have also invested millions of dollars to start building a new brand, NCL America, and the infrastructure that is required for a U.S. flag operation. In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in building our initial U.S. flagged cruise ships.
Although we are well under way in our endeavor, we have experienced a setback as the first of the Project America vessels, Pride of America, has been delayed. As some of you may know, the vessel listed 15 degrees while docked at her shipyard and took on water up to three decks in a heavy windstorm in January. The ship, which was slated to begin cruising on July 4th in Hawaii, was recently refloated and we are working with the shipyard to assess damages and determine a new delivery date for that ship.
As you can imagine, this has been a hurdle in the process, but we will not be deterred from launching our U.S. Flag operation this year and ensuring the continued employment of the more than 1,000 U.S. seafarers we have already hired. Accordingly, we have announced the early introduction of the U.S. flagged ship, Pride of Aloha, to take over Pride of America&Mac226;s itinerary and to begin service in July.
Only with the success of these U.S. flagged ships in Hawaii and our new U.S. flag operation will we be able to succeed with the even more complex challenge of bringing back the S/S United States.
The outpouring of goodwill from many of you on Pride of America and our purchase of the S/S United States is wonderful, and we salute the S/S United States Foundation for the work done over the decades to preserve the legacy of this amazing ship.
I also wanted to let you know that very soon we will begin selling the "S/S United States: Fastest Ship in The World" aboard our entire fleet. The publisher will continue to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Foundation.
The S/S United States has a great maritime heritage, and we believe that she has a great maritime future as well. We urge you to join with us in supporting the return of U.S. flag passenger/cruise ships to the oceans of the world.
The love for the S/S United States is real. To you, she has always been more than a steel hull. And better than anybody, you know this ship's past and its potential. And we know it too."
Director, Public Relations
Norwegian Cruise Line