May 27, 2011

Gillibrand Calls for Historic Landmark Designation for USS Slater

Gillibrand: Landmark Designation for WWII Naval Warship Will Boost Tourism, Economic Activity in Albany

Washington, DC – This week, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) urged the National Park Service to designate the USS Slater—one of the remaining World War II naval ships and the only destroyer escort afloat in the United States —as a National Historic Landmark.

Senator Gillibrand wrote in a letter to Paul Loether, Chief of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program, “I urge you to consider the favorable findings of the National Park Service commissioned study regarding the merits for designation. While berthed in the Hudson River, the USS Slater has become a very popular destination and achieving this designation has the potential to greatly enhance tourism and economic activity in the surrounding area.” 

The National Historic Landmark designation would provide greatly needed resources to further preserve and maintain the USS Slater DE-766, which is docked on the Hudson River in Albany. The USS Slater, which served in the United States Navy fleet during World War II, has undergone an extensive seventeen-year restoration to its 1945 configuration. The ship is named after an Alabama sailor, Frank Slater, who was killed during World War II.

The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter is below:

Dear Mr. Loether,

I am writing today to express my support for the nomination of the destroyer escort USS Slater DE-766 for designation as a National Historic Landmark. 

The USS Slater played a prominent role in American naval strategy and operations during World War II and is the most well-preserved example of a destroyer escort that remains in the world today.  The USS Slater served in the United States Navy fleet during World War II, prior to being transferred to the Greek Navy in 1951.  Since returning to the United States in 1993, the USS Slater has undergone a seventeen-year restoration to its 1945 configuration, and is now one of the most authentically restored historic ships in the United States. 

The USS Slater is currently berthed in the Hudson River in Albany, New York, where it is maintained as a museum ship and attracts thousands of enthusiastic visitors each year.  In addition to retaining the ship’s World War II design and appearance, the USS Slater houses equipment that is identical to what it carried in 1945.  Restored officers’ quarters, artifacts, uniforms, and a complete set of signal flags help visitors to the ship gain a thorough and realistic understanding of what serving on this ship was like, as well as a better appreciation for the USS Slater’s enormous contributions to the victory of the Allied forces.  

National Historic Landmark designation would provide greatly needed resources for the further preservation of this ship, which has played such an important and prominent role in our nation’s history.  As you review this nomination for potential designation, I urge you to consider the favorable findings of the National Park Service commissioned study regarding the merits for designation.  While berthed in the Hudson River, the USS Slater has become a very popular destination and achieving this designation has the potential to greatly enhance tourism and economic activity in the surrounding area.