USS Adams Warship Museum moving slowly from a dream to reality

The city of Jacksonville on the NE Florida coast has been working for almost 10 years on a project to bring the former cold-war guided-missile destroyer, USS Charles F. Adams to the city’s waterfront as a museum ship attraction, and the finishing line is almost in sight.

The USS Charles F. Adams (DDG-2), normally shortened to USS Adams and nicknamed “Charlie Deuce”, was commissioned in 1960 and is named after a former Secretary of the Navy who served between 1929 – 1933. She was the first of a new class of destroyers (29 were built*) equipped with an ASROC anti-submarine missile launcher on her stern. Her first operation was enforcing the the blockade around Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After that she spent 21 years of her 30 year service based in northeast Florida. She was decommissioned in 1990 and has been languishing since in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

The Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association has long been aware of the crowd-drawing power of museum ships and their role in regenerating economic activity in derelict waterside areas. They are also acutely aware that Floridians in their thousands go to Mobile (USS Alabama) and Charleston (USS Yorktown) in neighboring Alabama & South Carolina to visit museum ships.

Now, with support from local business and politicians, it looks as if the $2.8m project is gathering momentum towards the moment when the USS Adams is released from the Navy into a dry-dock for refurbishment and then towed down to her new home, where she will become the only warship museum in Florida.

* Not all Adams class destroyers were American. Twenty-three were, but then three were built for the Australian navy and three for the West German Bundesmarine, which is how the only other surviving ship of its class is the D187 Molders museum ship in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

UPDATE: In Dec 2018 the US Navy finally pulled down the shutters and scheduled USS Adams for the scrapyard. Jacksonville were badly disappointed and are still looking for a warship.

In Jan 2020 WJCT News reported that the destroyer USS Orleck has been offered to Jacksonville. Built at the end of WW2, USS Orleck is a Vietnam war era destroyer, now a museum ship on Lake Charles, Louisiana.


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