Archive for the ‘Museum’ Tag

Shameful: ‘USS Ranger, aircraft carrier once sought as Fairview tourist destination, heading to scrap heap’

“BREMERTON, Wash. — Naval Sea Systems Command says the mothballed aircraft carrier USS Ranger, once sought as a Columbia River tourist destination in Fairview, will be towed out of Puget Sound on Thursday on its way to be scrapped in Texas.

“The Ranger was commissioned in 1957 and was active during the Vietnam War and also deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm, the first Persian Gulf War. The carrier was decommissioned in 1993 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.” – The Oregonian


Yes, I know, Naval Sea Systems Command (NSSC) has no reason to expect anyone to save the old treasure now as last-ditch efforts to bring the ship to San Diego as a museum apparently went nowhere.

The ship is in relatively good shape, as pictures showed last fall when the State of Oregon named the Ranger as a Heritage Site. That action had no apparent impact on NSSC or on other cities who could have brought together movers and shakers to secure the ship as a lucrative tourist attraction and educational destination.

I was a member of the USS Ranger Foundation, though from the other side of the country, I never could get enough feedback from them to find out why they were moving so slowly, why they couldn’t work with BNSF to work out the problem of a low railway bridge blocking the ship’s passage to the proposed site in Fairview, Oregon, or why they couldn’t attract the interest of more heavy hitters to get the job done.

I was a museum consultant at the time and offered to help, but never got a response. Sometimes, membership doesn’t have its privileges.

So now the Navy has sold the ship for a penny. Perhaps the Navy can spend that penny on a stick of gum or as a down payment on a sheet of stamps. We are not well served by this action. It is short sighted.

A carrier museum could serve a municipality well, for cultural tourist destinations typically bring in visitors who stay longer and who spend more in the community (hotels, gas stations, restaurants) than the average tourist. Some of the ship’s compartments could be devoted to exhibits, while others could have been used for classes, presentations or even as spaces for rental to groups wanting unique places to meet.

Short of a miracle–(Dear Mr. President: How about an executive action on this project?)–the ship will be turned into scrap metal, thrown out with the trash, so to speak, in a way that benefits nobody and does not preserve our history.


I served on board the Ranger in 1968 and 1969 in the Gulf of Tonkin and used my experiences as inspiration for my novel “The Sailor.”




Last ditch effort to save Top Gun’s celebrated supercarrier from the scrap yard

“Emergency ‘donation hold’ requested for USS Ranger as new group seeks to spearhead viable commercial repurpose and preserve a significant piece of American history.” — PRNEWSWIRE

Read more:
This is great news. The ship would make a wonderful museum and would generate cultural tourism dollars to the community.

Birthday Present for USS Ranger Museum Supporters

Ranger - Wikipedia photo

Supporters of a planned USS Ranger museum received a gift on the aircraft carrier’s 53rd birthday party yesterday when former Oregon Governor Victor Atiyeh announced that the Metro Regional Government has conditionally approved Fairview in Multnomah County as the ship’s permanent home.

The planned mooring site is the Columbia River’s Chinook Landing Marine Park. The carrier, decommissioned in 1993 and mothballed at the Navy’s Inactive Ship Maintenance facility at Bremerton, Washington, last saw action in 1991 in Operation Desert Storm.

Ranger earned 13 battle stars for service in the Vietnam War and was known as the Top Gun of the Pacific Fleet. Supply ships meeting the carrier for underway replenishments in those days would hear the familiar “Lone Ranger Theme” of the William Tell Overture when the ships broke away from each other after the transfer of stores, ordnance, or fuel was complete.

The ship played the roll of the carrier Nimitz in the 1980 film “The Final Countdown,” and the USS Enterprise in the 1986 films “Top Gun” and the “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”

“Imagine living wage jobs, tourism and national status as the largest floating museum in the world. Everyone would recognize the name Fairview, Oregon,” said Fairview Mayor Mike Weatherby.

Plans call for the 1,046-foot-long, 90,000-ton USS Ranger to serve as a museum, education center, emergency preparedness center with 100,000 square feet of gathering space.

The USS Ranger Museum Foundation will file its Phase II application in the ship’s acquisition process with the Navy in September. According to the foundation’s studies, the Columbia is wide enough and deep enough to accommodate moving Ranger to Fairview.


The Vietnam-era Navy scenes in my recent novel, Garden of Heaven, were inspired by my period of service aboard the USS Ranger in 1968 and 1969 during two WESTPAC cruises. The novel tells the story of a man’s spiritual journey through the mountains of Pakistan, the swamps of North Florida, the beaches of Hawaii, the waters of the South China Sea and the ivy-covered halls of an Illinois college as he attempts to sort out the shattered puzzle of his life.

Posted August 11, 2010 by Malcolm R. Campbell in news

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Fairview, Oregon selected for Super Carrier Museum

from the USS Ranger Foundation

The USS Ranger Foundation has selected the site that we as a Foundation think is the perfect location for Ranger.

Chinook Landing is within the city of Fairview, Oregon on the Columbia River and is a beautiful park-like property. It’s just west of the 1st National Scenic Area-at the entrance to the Columbia Gorge.

The enthusiasm at City Hall, and from the community is incredible!

Many have asked if Ranger can make it up river to Chinook Landing and the answer is YES! It won’t be easy and there needs to be much cooperation, but Ranger will make it through the bridges and the channel is deep enough. The details are many, but we have worked with the experts who know how to make this happen, and with that cooperation, Ranger will moor at Chinook Landing.

This location will bring needed jobs, tourists and a positive economic impact to East County.

Shoreline at Chinook LandingChinook Landing is owned and operated by Metro, regional government, as one of the busiest boat launch facilities in Oregon. The proposal is to moor Ranger in another area of the park-leaving the existing parking and boat launch for Oregon’s boaters. A satisfactory moorage agreement between Metro and the Boat Launch at Chinook LandingFoundation is in the works.

We are working towards our September 3rd Phase II application submission and have much to do. Thanks to the Visitor Development Fund-a part of Travel Portland, we were able to fully fund the Marketing/Feasibility update and 25% of the Environmental study that also must be completed. We now need to raise the other 75% needed for the study.

We thank those of you who have donated over the past years. In the last few months, we have raised over $100,000 of the $250,000 needed for this phase of the application, but we have much further to go!

Help us raise the remaining $150,000 needed now!

The USS Ranger Foundation is a registered, non-profit corporation established March 5, 2001, organized for the purpose of securing, maintaining and operating the decommissioned super carrier USS RANGER CV-61 as an educational center, museum and Military Memorial.

I served aboard the USS Ranger during the Western Pacific cruises to Vietnam of 1968 and 1969, before being assigned to the public information staff at the Great Lakes Naval Training Facility. The aircraft carrier sequences in my novel Garden of Heaven while not about the Ranger, were inspired by my service on board the carrier.

Ranger Public Affairs Office in 1969. I'm standing with a coffee mug second from the right.

Posted July 4, 2010 by Malcolm R. Campbell in Navy

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