The SS United States was celebrated recently at a high-level gathering featuring U.S. Maritime Administrator Mark Buzby. Admiral Buzby leads MARAD, the U.S. Department of Transportation agency responsible for the nation's merchant marine.
Conservancy Advisory Council member Captain Alex Keisch — a tireless advocate for the SS United States who served aboard the ship in 1966 as a cadet — helped to coordinate the fantastic tribute dinner, at which Buzby was presented with an original menu from America's Flagship.
The Conservancy would like to thank Captain Keisch for his steadfast support and initiative in the fight to save our nation's flagship. We are honored and buoyed by the great interest in the SS United States expressed by Admiral Buzby and by future, current and past members of the nation's merchant marine, as awareness of this incredible vessel continues to spread across America and around the globe.
From left: Former SS United States crewmember Dr. Ed Wood; U.S. Maritime Administrator Admiral Mark Buzby; Conservancy Advisory Council member and former crewmember Captain Alex Keisch.
The event was hosted by the United States Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association and Foundation's Richmond and Piedmont chapters on March 25th, at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia. Captain Keisch gave an inspiring speech and also reflected upon his time as a crewmember on the Big U. He declared: "It was like dating a beautiful movie star just that one time. You carry that memory with you to your grave!"
Throughout the evening, there was much discussion of the importance of saving America's Flagship, and of her impact as a source of enduring inspiration for our nation's maritime industry. A 1979 graduate of King's Point, Buzby retired from the U.S. Navy in 2013 after 34 years of service. He served as Commander of the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command from 2009 to 2013, and was appointed by President Donald Trump and sworn in as Maritime Administrator in August 2017.
Conservancy Executive Director Susan Gibbs with U.S. Maritime Administrator Admiral Mark Buzby.
Conservancy Advisory Council member Alex Keisch as a cadet aboard the SS United States in 1966. T-shirts featuring this iconic image can be purchased in the Conservancy's online shop.