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The USS Edson ready for a more peaceful action.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

USS Edson Grand Opening Three Years in the Making

Former Sailors return to celebrate this event

May 1, 2016       1 Comments
By: John Keuvelaar

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Saturday, April 30, 2016, the USS Edson, a Vietnam Era Destroyer, held its Grand Opening. Grand Opening? Yes, and it has been three years in the making. The Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum, keepers behind this Grand Old Ship didn't want to officially launch it until it was more ship shape. After all, there was a lot to do to get it ready for the public. But the public has been anxious to see this great naval vessel at the base of the Liberty Bridge. So the crew supporting the USS Edson has been busily conducting tours and painting the hull among others places to really get it ready for public inspection. And they are close to being there.

Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum President Mike Kegley handled the master of ceremony duties.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Friends, Family, and supporters came to the Grand Opening of the USS Edson.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

All hands on deck as Rep. Charles Brunner, Mayor Kathi Newsham and those involved in the USS Edson attempt to cut the ribbon. The ribbon didn't want to be cut.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

President Mike Kegley, Vice President Mike Buda and the others enjoy a laugh when the ribbon finally was cut. (MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

This 418-foot vessel was launched on January 4, 1958, and after 10 months of sea trials, was commissioned into service on November 7, 1958, and served until December 15, 1988. The USS Edson then served for many years as part of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City, prior to being returned to the U.S. Navy. With the help of many local citizens and businesses, the good folks of the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum were able to acquire the vessel and bring it to Bay City to educate and remind us all of the work and sacrifices that have to be made to allow us all to enjoy the freedoms we enjoy.

The ceremony was highlighted by the presence of three former crewmen who stayed and told stories of their tour of duty on deck. Those crewmen were Duane Arnott, Hull Maintenance Technician Second Class from East Jordan, MI; Chester Crews, Quarter Master from Upper Marlboro, Maryland; and George Quinn, OS from Minnesota. He has been here for four days living on the ship and working on scraping and painting. Many of the former crew members love to come to their old ships to work, stay on and in the evening meet on the back deck to tell stories and reminisce.

Quartermaster Chester Crews, who served on the Edson from 1964 through 1965, drove all the way from Maryland for the ceremony.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Duane Arnott, from East Jordan, MI; Chester Crews from Upper Marlboro, Maryland; and George Quinn, OS from Minnesota were former crew members on the USS Edson.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Former Congressman Jim Barcia, Judge John Keuvelaar and Rep. Charles Brunner listen as the crew members share their tales at sea.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Former Congressman Jim Barcia, Judge John Keuvelaar and Rep. Charles Brunner gather with crew members Duane Arnott, Chester Crews and George Quinn.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The Destroyer, known as the Grey Ghost of the Vietnamese Coast, is open for tours and is currently on the list for tour buses which many have been booked for. There are many features on the ship of interest, including a "working" radar for guests to see and explore. Standing in the ships navigation room, you feel the enormous size of it and the skill it must take to navigate it through rivers and tight areas. Nearly complete are the holding tanks that will allow water to be hooked up and thus allowing "overnight" tours for many interest organizations. There has been much interest in "a night on the ship" and soon that will become a reality.

Tour guides, stationed about the ship, share impressive stories of its history as you go. Two such stories really stood out. One related to the accuracy of its three guns. Especially with the technology of the past era, they were able to fire rounds 14 miles away with an accuracy of 25 feet. A second story related to the men that served on its deck. During an attack on the ship, a North Vietnamese shell struck the ship distributing shrapnel all around and striking the man in charge of one of the guns. The shrapnel had lodged itself into his back and he was immediately taken below to be worked on. But the ship was still being fired upon to the man returned to his gun and fired back, knocking the North Vietnamese weapon out and thus saving the ship. He then returned below to have the shrapnel attended too.

Carla Monteiro, Administrative Staff for the Edson, has been instrumental in bringing tour buses to the ship.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

A look at the bridge that everyone can stand in on the tour.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Its amazing to see different equipment that was used on the Edson.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

This radar unit is equipped with a simulator that gives the feel of what the crew was looking at during war time. (MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

These are but a part of the stories the USS Edson has to tell and can be learned by taking the tours on its deck. The Destroyer is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 5 pm. For more information, check out their website at

On the paranormal side, there have been reports and investigations of strange happenings aboard the ship. Some of these investigations have been featured on national paranormal investigation programs. We have been invited to participate in an upcoming investigation this summer and will share with you the findings of that investigation in a future article.

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"The BUZZ" - Read Feedback From Readers!

vibrantsource Says:       On May 09, 2016 at 08:50 AM
Thanks for the Great article on bringing this ship to Bay City, nice to see that refurbishing war artifacts are important for young people to experience as well as folks of all ages. Appreciate the writing and research that went in to getting this together!!
Agree? or Disagree?

John Keuvelaar

John Keuvelaar is a college student at Midwest Photography Workshops and Delta College.

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