Meridian Star

December 12, 2013

Vicksburg museum asks Navy for USS Vicksburg items

The Associated Press
Associated Press

VICKSBURG, Miss. — The Old Depot Museum is asking the Navy to loan or donate of items from the soon-to-be decommissioned USS Vicksburg for a display in the cruiser's namesake city.

Museum director Lamar Roberts sent letters to Navy officials including Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in August.

"I think it's a good project for Vicksburg and a good project for the museum," Roberts told The Vicksburg Post (http://bit.ly/1bWUWEE ).

Four warships have been christened the USS Vicksburg. The first was commissioned in 1863 and served as a Union blockader during the Civil War. The second boat to use the name was commissioned in 1897.

The Old Depot Museum is already home to a model of the modern-day cruiser and memorabilia donated by sailors aboard the World War II-era incarnation, including a logbook, photos and 8 mm films, which are currently tucked away in the museum's library.

"The crew had their reunion here several years ago and adopted us as the place where they wanted to keep their archive," Roberts said.

Now, Roberts is waiting for the application process to be completed and the official decommissioning of the cruiser.

"It's a lot of hoops to jump through," he said.

The ship had been planned for decommission in fiscal 2013, but it and two other cruisers of its class were saved by the National Defense Authorization Act. The Navy has not said when the Ticonderoga-class cruiser will be decommissioned, but the Department of Defense has opposed retaining the ship in the naval fleet.

"It's in limbo right now," Roberts said.

If the items, including clocks, flags, and the ship's bell, are obtained, they and the World War II-era memorabilia would be placed into a room on the third floor of museum with models of all four USS Vicksburgs, Roberts said.

"We have the decking of the World War II Vicksburg to deck the floor in there, so you would actually be walking on the deck of the ship," he said.

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Information from: The Vicksburg Post, http://www.vicksburgpost.com