Charlie Deuce is prepping for her journey from Philadelphia back to the first coast, and this time, it’s for good. The dreamy naval ship, the USS Charles F. Adams (DDG-2), will be docking permanently along the St. Johns River.
The USS Charles F. Adams was once part of the Adams Class of guided missile destroyers. She, along with a fleet of 29 other ships, revolutionized naval warfare. On her own, she took part in several operations, which included the quarantine of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. In August 1990, she was decommissioned and relocated to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. There, she awaits for her journey. For 21 years out of her 30-year commission, the USS Charles F. Adams called Mayport her home. Now, she’s finally getting ready for her return.
The ship will be more than just an aesthetic add-on to the city (of course, with such an impressive addition, one might expect some interesting changes to downtown Jacksonville’s panorama). She will become Florida’s first naval warship museum, The USS Adams Museum. And where better to have her stationed than her old home port of Jacksonville?
The USS Adams Museum will function on many different levels. On one, she will be an educational vessel, a floating museum, outfitted with hands-on displays, historical re-enactions and interactive exhibits. “We’ll offer at least twenty different programs,” explains the museum’s CEO Joe Snowerger. “The ship will be broken into multiple areas with hands-on activities.” Educating the youth is definitely a priority for the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association (JHNSA) both on ship and in-store at their Jacksonville Landing location. “All children who come in are required to touch things,” emphasizes Snowberger on the store’s similar hands-on approach to learning.
Apart from being an educational tool for the youth, she will also represent the Adams class of advanced warships. The ships served the U.S. Navy during the Cold War and revolutionized naval warfare on a global scale. On another level, she symbolizes Jacksonville’s rich naval history and military heritage. After all, Jacksonville is home to the third-largest number of naval assets in the country, an appropriate environment for the retired ship.
The museum will provide education about the ship’s historical significance in a memorable setting. Other expectations include hosting future educational projects, camp-aboard events, ceremonies and other seasonal and military affairs. As a side effect, the museum also hopes to bring additional tourism to the downtown area.
The project, orchestrated by The JHNSA, has been in the works as early as 2007. The proposal succeeded in garnering both local and regional support. With it, the USS Adams Museum is well on its way to completion. The final steps involve “bringing home the Adams,” an action Snowberger encourages the community to participate in. Some ways to help include fundraising and sponsorships found through its website. As for the museum’s exact location, “It all depends on the Shipyards,” says Snowberger of USS Adams Museum’s eventual home. “The final operation’s permanent location is part of it.”
As the very last of its kind, the USS Adams Museum will be an ideal tribute to all military veterans and a lasting memorial for American history.
For more information on the USS Adams, visit www.ussadams.com.