The letter you are about to read was authored and sent to President George W. Bush in response to a posting on the U. S. Naval Fire Support Association web-site in an attempt to discredit the decision making integrity of the Navy, Congress and the former Secretary of the Navy. They were also able to convince Oliver North who is a columnist for the Washington Times to include this in his column on March 15, 2001 as well as on the web-site NewsMax.com.
This group desires to STOP our ship's move as soon as possible and pull her into Norfolk, Va.
We, the IOWA Veteran's, need to MOBILIZE now more than ever before. We need to come "IN ONE ACCORD" to the government of our country. You are greatly encouraged to contact your Congressional Delegation and to write (fax) or phone your President George W. Bush immediately concerning this matter which approaches the severest disregard for honesty by writing and printing an article smothered with such misinformation.
President, The Veterans Association of the USS IOWA(BB-61)
President Bush: 202-456-1414 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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March 16, 2001
George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D. C. 20500
VIA FAX (202)456-2461
Dear President Bush,
We write in response to efforts by an organization, named the U.S. Naval and Fire Support Association ("USNFSA") and through its website www.usnfsa.com, to direct communications to you objecting the congressionally-supported relocation of U.S.S. Iowa to Suisun Bay, California.
It is a rarity to encounter any organization that can be wrong on so many points as USNFSA. Regarding the relocation of the U.S.S. Iowa to California, USNFSA appears to be more motivated by political passion against California rather than rational assessment. The many veterans and citizens of this Great State take offense at the slurs being cast by USNFSA. From a research perspective, this organization's perspective is lacking facts and counterproductive in achieving its goals.
First, the legislation authorizing the relocation of the U.S.S. Iowa to California was not written by Senator Barbara Boxer as the author purports. Second, the author is incorrect in stating that the appropriation was not authorized. In fact it passed both the Senate and the House Appropriation Committees. Specifically, the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee chaired by Congressman Jerry Lewis passed the measure in the YR 2000 Defense Appropriations Act. Third, the Association's Executive Director William Stearman would have the reader believe that it was illegal to spend appropriated funds in FY2001. This moneys were committed and accrued as spent in YR2000 once the Secretary of the Navy decided in YR2000 to tow IOWA, per standard practice.
The Maritime Administration ("MARAD") facility in Suisun Bay California is capable of taking care of IOWA. USNFSA is also incorrect in stating otherwise. IOWA is a Maintenance Category B mobilization (reserve)asset, ready for recall and designated to receive the highest practicable degree of maintenance within personnel and funding limitations. Vessels placed in this Category are those identified as most urgently needed to augment the active fleet in the event of an emergency. MARAD is qualified to maintain a Maintenance Category B reserve asset. Indeed, the Navy has another Category B ship at Suisun Bay, where IOWA will be maintained and which the Navy has designated an Inactive Fleet Site for its ships in the Bay Area. There are almost ninety other vessels there in reserve status as well. Further, it is a designated Naval Inactive Fleet Site. USNFSA would have the public believe there is no electricity at the MARAD facility and that the State
of California, among the world's top ten economies, is in the stone age. This is a laughable assertion and ignores that the facility has available underwater network of cables that feed electricity from shore utilities to the fleet moored in a channel as well as having generators aboard afloat platforms. IOWA's dehumidification and cathodic protection systems will have plenty of electrical power to run on. Further, IOWA will have cadres of skilled workman to take care of her. Overall, the Bay Area is home to over 120 reserve and ready reserve ships. Essentially, the USNFSA should understand that Inactive Fleet Sites are all maintenance businesses. Ships are not there for display.
Further, the Bay Area has heavy lift capacity, including a functioning regunning crane built for 'Iowa'- class battleships. The region also has a floating drydock large enough for IOWA at San Francisco Drydock and is blessed with many deep water piers. In point of fact, IOWA will enjoy superior maintenance protocols and preservation facilities in the Bay Area. This conclusion was reached after a $300,000 feasibility study was authorized by the Secretary of the Navy, Richard Danzig. These facts argue against the rash, superficial and misleading assertions of the USNFSA.
The decision to relocate IOWA to San Francisco is supported by two
consecutive years of congressional approval. For the record, the Navy's
decision to bring IOWA to California received bipartisan support in both Houses
of Congress for two consecutive years. The YR1999 Defense Authorization
Act expressed the sense of Congress that USS Iowa be homeported in San
Francisco, and the YR 2000 Defense Appropriation Act provided $3 million for the
transfer of USS Iowa from Rhode Island to San Francisco. The USNFSA falsely
paints this congressional appropriation as a dark affair with no transparency.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
IOWA will be kept in superb condition in California. A battleship on the West Coast in mobilization status as well as one on the East Coast in mobilization status makes perfect sense following the United States relinquishment of the Panama Canal. In fact, the case for the battleship's utility in a modern, electronic age is only strengthened by this relocation from the visibility IOWA will receive.
In conclusion, the USNFSA arguments against IOWA's relocation to California hold no weight. They are misleading and incorrect. The Navy, the public, and the U.S.S. Iowa are poorly served by an organization that is on record as accusing our nation's own Navy of deliberate incompetence, that makes a policy of insulting Congresspersons and our Secretaries of Defense and the Navy, and that excels at misinformation.
NAVY LEAGUE of the UNITED STATES
Marin County Council
San Rafael, CA 94912-9516