Allentown
36° F
Clear
Clear

Carbon County veteran is trying to bring USS Independence to Philadelphia

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 26 2014 05:11:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 26 2014 06:45:27 PM CDT

A Navy vet from Carbon County is trying to bring Independence to Philadelphia; that's the USS Independence, a decommissioned aircraft carrier slated to be dismantled.

A Navy vet from Carbon County is trying to bring Independence to Philadelphia; that's the USS Independence, a decommissioned aircraft carrier slated to be dismantled.

"I was on the Independence for a year," said Bob Siesputowski." I was a radar-man."

It's an unexpected tour of duty, decades after Seiputowski's service in the Navy.

"I'm hoping to bring her to the Philadelphia Navy Yard to become a museum," said Seiputowski.

Ski, as he is known to his friends, found out the Independence is set to be dismantled next year.

Ski has lots of memories of his time as one of her first crew members, a commission book, pictures and newspaper clippings, his version of a shrine.

Three football fields long, the Independence, built in 1959, served in the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and combat operations to liberate the island of Greneda before being decommissioned in 1998.

It now rests in a naval yard in Washington state.

Ski has started a one man letter writing campaign to save the Independence for future generations, writing letters to the governor, Senator Pat Toomey and state representatives.

"Just on her name should be in Philadelphia. That is where we signed our declaration. And our emblem is the Liberty Bell," said Siesputowski.

The Navy says there are three-decommissioned ships in the Philadelphia area and that a fourth would draw away revenue from the others.

The Navy says it only gives decommissioned ships to states or non-profits that can afford to maintain the historic vessels, but Ski won't give up.

"I am worried they are going to decommission her her and use her for scrap. And if they use her for scrap I've lost my battle," Siesputowski.

But for Ski, it's a battle worth fighting.
"I'm one guy I really don't know what I am doing," said Siesputowski. "I'm trying to get people to help me."

"But I always say you got one more fight," said Siesputowski.