UPDATES & CORRESPONDENCE
ABOUT THE SEQUOIA
(If you have a question, comment, or
story to share about the Sequoia. please write
Click here for RoadTrip America's
visit to the Sequoia.)
The U.S.S. Sequoia arrives at St. Michael's Harbor
on July 26, 2003 for restoration
and repairs at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Timothy L. Besmer, Sr. writes, "I am a presidential
historian and consultant. I am also the executive vice president
of the USS Sequoia, as well as her presidential liaison. I
was aboard her on the trip for refurbishment at St Michael's.
I am also cofounder and president of the U.S.S. Sequoia Artifact
Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit group trying to secure
her rightful place in US History. I am in search of stories
from past crew and visitors to document the unique history
of this wonderful vessel for generations to come. I am also
in search of any artifacts from this vessel, whether they
be as small as a matchbook or a bedroom dresser. If you have
a story to tell about your trip on Sequoia, please e-mail
me. For more photos of the Sequoia, click
In reply to Duane Petersen's question below, the USS
Williamsburg was designated as a presidential yacht shortly
after the end of WWII, but the Williamsburg has an iron hull
unlike the Sequoia which is made of wood. Additional descriptions
and photos about all of the presidential yachts are available
Duane Petersen writes, "
We, too, saw the
USS Sequoia docked at St. Michael's, Maryland and recognized
it as the former presidential yacht. I have a question, however.
Wan't this yacht once known as the Presidential Yacht 'Williamsburg'?"
Bill Thompson of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Museum Shipwright Apprentices are working
10-hour days, seven days a week repairing bow and aft sections
of the historic wooden vessel. Progress is good and today
areas where planks were pulled should be closed with new wood.
The Sequoia is scheduled to remain at the museum until the
end of the first week in September. It will leave the Miles
River and return to Washington.
Gary Silversmith, owner of the Sequoia, writes "
work being done at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for
the entire month of August is simply replacing some worn above-the-water-line
planks. That Museum has the best woodworkers, so the Sequoia
is being treated very well. The Sequoia's rentals start again
Sept. 4, with the Bush Administration scheduled to use the
Chuck Abell reported seeing the USS Sequoia berthed
at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Marland.
The Sequoia will be docked next to the museum boat shop for
about a month while it undergoes refurbishment. The museum
has restored a number of antique wooden boats including skipjacks,
oyster harvesting sailing vessels unique to Chesapeake Bay.
The Sequoia is docked at the Gangplank Marina, at 6th &
Maine Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C., approximately one mile
south of the Capitol building. It is located at the end of
the commercial dock, next to the Odyssey cruise boat dock,
and one block from Hogates and Phillips restaurants.
Visit the U.S.S. Sequoia's new official Web site for more
information and an updated history.
Giles Kelly writes, "As a former skipper of the
Sequoia, I am responding to your invitation to comment on
the Sequoia's status as a Presidential Yacht or the Secretary
of the Navy's Yacht. She was both, but she spent much more
of her 44 years in the Navy as the Secretary's yacht rather
than the President's. Understandably, people tend to refer
to her in terms of her higher status."
Vincent "Sonny" Marks Jr. writes, "I
am very familiar with the Sequoia. I served aboard her from
November 1969 to September 1973 and am greatly honored to
have done so. I was a Boatswain's Mate 2nd class when I left
the Navy and loved every minute of it. As a BM2, I became
very familiar with the Sequoia from a maintenance standpoint
as well as from an operational one. While serving on her,
our commanding officer at the time (Andrew J. Combe) had a
"Craftmasters" badge designed. To be legible to
wear this on our dress uniforms, we needed to be able to perform
all duties required to operate the Sequoia in any situation.
This normally meant serving the President, who was then Richard
Nixon. I am proud to say that I qualified as Craftmaster aboard
her. To the best of my knowledge, there are probably very
few of these badges ever issued, since it was not long before
the terrible mistake of selling her happened. You mentioned
rendering honors at Mt. Vernon.
Well, my most prized possession of my time served is a picture
of us rendering honors with The President, First Lady, Tricia,
and David with BM2 Marks at the helm."
A message from Mac S. Hall, a guest on the Sequoia
August, 1949, I was in Washington, DC, and together with
two friends I was invited aboard the Sequoia for lunch.
The Commander and the crew were in their white uniforms
and we were served cocktails on the fantail, although
at the time I just had a Coke. The four of us had lobster
thermador followed by baked Alaska. I still have the menu
that was printed for four people. The reason I am writing
this is that I have read several articles regarding the
USS Sequoia and none mentioned that for some length of
time this belonged to the Secretary of Navy. The day I
had lunch aboard the Sequoia, the Commander told us it
was the ship of the Secretary of Navy. To confirm this
I have the menu for the day together with an ashtray with
the flag of the Secretary of Navy. Why this has been left
out of the history, I do not know. Maybe you can fill
the blank spaces."