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Navy Edging Closer to Considering Donation of Destroyer Edson to Bay City

Local Support Group Gets 'Pre-Decisional' Documents from Chicago Office

January 15, 2010       2 Comments
By: Dave Rogers

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"It's not signed and sealed or approved by the Secretary of the Navy," but the drive to bring the USS Edson museum ship here for display is apparently on track.

Richard Janke, vice-president of the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum (SVNSM) said the group received "pre-decisional" documents Thursday from the Navy's Chicago office.

A proposed contract "working draft" for donation of the 418 foot long destroyer from the Navy to the Bay City group is being reviewed, according to museum officials.

"This working draft is an important step in the process and we are hopeful it will bear fruit," said Mr. Janke. "Things are looking good," said Mike Kegley, president of the group.

Some of the financial pledges made to the group's fund-raising campaign have been made contingent on the Navy's approval. So a positive decision will mean the effort can proceed with added funds.

The museum has raised more than $1 million and anticipates a cost of more than half that amount in towing the destroyer from the Philadelphia Navy Yard, through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Quebec and through the Great Lakes to Bay City.

If all approvals are received, towing would be scheduled as soon as possible, perhaps in the Spring as soon as the ice melts on the key waterways and locks.

Total cost of the towing project will depend on the price of diesel fuel at the time of the tow, although the museum is seeking a donor for the fuel. Additional costs will be incurred in securing the $2 million insurance policy needed for the towing and $1 million liability policy while the vessel is docked here for public display.

The local group has built a dock in the Saginaw River near the Independence Bridge and the Independence Park small boat docks and launching ramp and plans to install a parking lot at the site in the spring.

Estimates are the ship display will draw upwards of 80,000 visitors a year and create considerable tourism revenue.

The Edson, built in 1958 at the Bath Iron Works, Maine, is one of three remaining Forrest Sherman class destroyers. It is fully museum ready, having been sited at the Intrepid Air-Sea Museum in New York City. It was moved to Philadelphia to make room for the supersonic airplane Concorde.

The ship, listed by the U.S. Navy as a National Historic Landmark, was located in New York 1989-2004.

The Edson ship display will be a tribute to the contribution of the Defoe Shipbuilding Company that built about 150 vessels for the Navy during World War II. ###

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dmaillette Says:       On January 17, 2010 at 09:03 PM
Thanks. Maybe I'll live long enough to see it after all. I visited the Edson's sister ship, the USS Turner Joy DD 951 while in Seattle visiting my son over Thanksgiving. It's docked at the Navy Ship Yard in Bremerton and had a lot of visitors that day.
fwiggles Says:       On January 24, 2010 at 01:33 AM
I served on the USS EDSON DD 946 fron 1969 to 1973. I came on board as a FTGSM left as a FTG2. My wife and I hope to be in Bay City to help tie her up when she comes in!
Agree? or Disagree?

Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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