NORFOLK, Va. – Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) adopted a space aboard the decommissioned Iowa-class battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-64) at the Nauticus National Maritime Center in Norfolk, Va., April 26.
NECC applied to adopt a space aboard the battleship through the Restore BB-64 program and was assigned the aft enlisted crews mess, where volunteers from the command will clean, paint and repair the area regularly.
Restore BB-64 is an adopt-a-space group volunteer program that invited military commands, civic leagues, businesses, schools, churches, local service groups and youth organizations to help restore and maintain the Battleship Wisconsin.
Operations Specialist 1st Class Lisa Kraft, NECC First Class Petty Officer Association Community service coordinator, organized the adoption on behalf of the command.
“I worked with Juli Mansfield who is the volunteer coordinator for the USS Wisconsin,” said Kraft. “Through many scheduling discussions and conflicts, we were finally able to get NECC personnel on board to start our restoration process in the enlisted crew’s mess that will allow many generations after us to enjoy this historic battleship.”
In 2006, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, requiring that the battleships USS Wisconsin and USS Iowa be kept and maintained in a state of readiness should they ever be needed again.
“It’s very important that we preserve our history,” said Chief Master-at-Arms David MacDonald, assigned to NECC. “As a sailor, the Navy’s history is the most valuable thing we have and if we don’t preserve it and learn from it, we can never improve.”
Wisconsin was first commissioned into naval service April 16, 1944, and since then has been recommissioned twice and decommissioned three times. Since 2000, the battleship has been berthed at Nauticus in Norfolk, Va., where she will remain unless ordered to be recommissioned to defend the country again.
“The personnel from NECC did a fantastic job onboard the battleship,” said Kraft. “We removed 23 years of untouched dust and grime that was stopping her from really shining. We look forward to future visits that will get the small details that will help preserve the space for years to come.”
NECC is an enduring force providing capability across the full range of military operations in the maritime strategy to include forward presence, maritime security and power projection, now and in the future.