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USS Sequoia: The Yacht of Presidents Sails Into a New Century

(If you have a question, comment, or story to share about the Sequoia. please write to us.)
Click here for RoadTrip America's visit to the Sequoia.)
U.S.S. 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

9/01/03: 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 here.
8/24/03: 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 at and
8/18/03: 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'?"
8/14/03: Bill Thompson of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum writes, "…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.
8/13/03: Gary Silversmith, owner of the Sequoia, writes "…The 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 yacht."
7/27/03: 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.
12/2/02: 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.
02/07/01: 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."
10/04/00: 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 in 1949:

"In 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."

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