02.11.14

SCHUMER URGES NAVY TO ALLOW CITY OF BEACON TO ACCESS DISPLAY HISTORICAL ARTIFACTS FROM U.S.S. FORRESTAL JAMES FORRESTAL, FIRST SEC. OF DEFENSE, IS A FAVORITE SON OF BEACON

brU.S.S. Forrestal Was Decommissioned Almost 20 Years Ago and Now Set For Scrapping City of Beacon is Seeking Access to the Artifacts That the Navy Recovered from the Ship Prior to its Disposal brbrbrSchumer Urges Navy to Work with the City of Beacon Its Historical Society, Which is In the Process of Applying, to Loan Artifacts from Ship for their Study Display in BeaconbrbrbrSchumer to Navy: Let Beacon Display Artifacts from the Ship Named After its Famous Son to Honor the Legacy of Beacon

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer wrote Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to request the Navy History and Heritage Command (NHHC) work with stakeholders from the City of Beacon Historical Society and allow them to borrow and display historic artifacts from the U.S.S. Forrestal, a famous decommissioned Navy warship.  The Historical Society and City are in the process of applying to the Navy for these loans. The U.S.S. Forrestal is named after the last cabinetlevel Secretary of the Navy, and the first United States Secretary of Defense, who was born in Matteawan, now in the City of Beacon.  The Forrestal is now planned for scrapping, having no other viable uses since it received no interest from museums or eligible organizations.  Schumer asked that that City of Beacon Historical Society and local partners be allowed access to the collection of artifacts recovered from the U.S.S. Forrestal after it was deactivated in 1993, now held by the NHHC. Schumer said the City would be sure to display the items in ways that are in line with Navy requirements, ideally at City Hall and in the J.V. Forrestal Elementary School, for city residents and tourists alike to view and learn about Mr. Forrestal's story.

 

"The City of Beacon is understandably proud to be the hometown of James Forrestal, one of our country's foremost military leaders.  To honor his legacy, and the history of the City of Beacon, the Beacon Historical Society should be allowed access to the artifacts and pieces recovered from the famous Navy warship that bore his name," said Schumer.  "The Navy History and Heritage Command has already retrieved these artifacts, salvaging them for posterity-now, they should be shared with the people and the city that would be most proud of what they represent."

 

The first of the "supercarriers," Forrestal was launched Dec. 11, 1954, by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., and commissioned Sept. 29, 1955. Forrestal was decommissioned Sept. 11, 1993, after more than 38 years of service. On June 16, 1999, the Navy announced the ship would be available for donation to an eligible organization for use as a museum or memorial. However, no viable applications were received and the vessel was removed from donation hold in December 2003 and redesignated for disposal.

 

It was recently sold to a Brownsville, Texas scrapping company for one penny, who deemed the value of the scrap metal very low.  But Schumer argued the City of Beacon values many of the artifacts inside the ship a great deal, and should be given the opportunity to access those artifacts from the Navy's stockpile. 

 

Dear Navy Secretary Ray Mabus,

 

I write to you concerning disposal of the U.S.S. Forrestal, which was named for a great New Yorker, Mr. James V. Forrestal. It has come to my attention through the Dutchess County Legislature and City of Beacon Historical Society that there are historical artifacts on the ship which are important to officials in The City of Beacon, located in Dutchess County, New York. The City of Beacon's residents, students, historical societies, and visitors should be able to receive artifacts from the ship, so that they may display them proudly and safeguard the memory and contributions of one of the city's favorite sons, Mr. James V. Forrestal.

 

Mr. Forrestal was born in Matteawan, New York, which is now a part of the City of Beacon. As you know, the aircraft supercarrier was first commissioned in 1955, and then decommissioned in 1993. Though it has now been out of service for 20 years, there is still much history to be recovered and remembered by the City of Beacon residents.

 

Mr. Forrestal was a renowned member of the community, and to this day there stands a grammar school in the City of Beacon named after him to honor the contributions he made to both this great country and his beloved hometown. The City of Beacon and the J.V. Forrestal Elementary School would both be honored to be able to display a piece of the ship and showcase their community's history. These artifacts could be placed in both City Hall and possibly included in the school for city residents, students and tourists alike to view and learn about Mr. Forrestal's story. City, historical and school officials are eager to work with the Navy to ensure any display and handling of historical materials are done so in a safe, responsible, and secure way to ensure the future integrity of these artifacts while serving as an important cultural and educational tool for all New Yorkers.

 

In October 2013, it was reported that the U.S.S. Forrestal had been sold to a Brownsville, Texas scrap company for just one penny. I ask that the Navy work with the City of Beacon and stakeholders to allow them to secure and display these important items before they are destroyed.

 

Thank you for all of the work you do in protecting our country and your attention to this critical matter. Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me or my staff.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

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