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LONG BEACH, Calif., Jan. 7, 2015--(PR Newswire)--

Last ditch effort to save Top Gun's celebrated supercarrier from the scrap yard

Emergency "donation hold" requested for USS Ranger as new group seeks to spearhead viable commercial repurpose and preserve a significant piece of American history

PR Newswire

LONG BEACH, Calif., Jan. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In less than three weeks, the USS Ranger – the supercarrier prominently featured in the famed movie "Top Gun" - is scheduled to be towed from Bremerton, Washington to be dismantled and disposed of in Brownsville, Texas. Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach, Inc., a new, well-funded group charged with exploring a viable second life for the ship, is seeking an emergency donation hold to allow sufficient time to present options for preservation. The USS Ranger was built in the 1950s and served in every American war since, before being decommissioned in 1993 following the Persian Gulf War.

"Right now, we just want a stay of execution," said recently appointed project manager, Michael B. Shanahan, AIA. "As a brand new team charged with repurposing the USS Ranger, we want to work with Navy, NAVSEA and City of Long Beach for the best possible outcome. We know that saving the USS Ranger would have significantly more far-reaching economic, historic and social benefits than scrapping it.  This is our last chance to stop the loss of an irreplaceable cultural and historic asset."

As time runs out for the USS Ranger, Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach, Inc. is orchestrating a "Hail Mary" attempt to save the ship via public support. An online petition ( is being circulated for names that will be submitted to the Navy/NAVSEA officials and Congress. A social campaign has also been implemented via Twitter  ( and Facebook ( and the hashtag #SaveTheRanger. The public is asked to bring additional awareness to the effort with the hashtag and petition link. 

Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach, Inc. is currently exploring a permanent berth for the USS Ranger in Long Beach Harbor, California where it will serve as cultural heritage site, experiential destination, and self-sustaining commercial attraction. Returning and former vets are anticipated to comprise 55 to 60 percent of the hundreds employed. The new team – established only three months ago – has received endorsements and significant funding commitments to transition the USS Ranger into enterprise modeled after the USS Midway in San Diego, which generated $150 million in revenue during its first three years of operation, more than 250 percent of what was originally anticipated for the ship.

"The Navy perceives this as an eight year project. However, this current team of experts has only been on the job for eight weeks, and already we have secured $14 million in committed funds for the project," stated chief financial officer, Chris Nelson. "This is a no brainer endeavor from a business and community perspective – and the USS Ranger's last chance to serve the U.S. in a new capacity: as an economic engine and patriotic emblem that would redefine the City of Long Beach as a maritime destination. We've got the right people at the helm to deliver."

A different (now dissolved) USS Ranger Foundation attempted to repurpose the USS Ranger as museum ship and multipurpose facility on the Columbia River in Fairview, Oregon. The Navy rejected the plan in 2012 due to its failure to meet Phase 2 requirements to donate a carrier.

"We understand NAVSEA's fiduciary responsibility to salvage the ship and minimize ongoing storage costs," added Shanahan. "However, sparing the ship now presents NO financial risk to the federal government." Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach, Inc. would be responsible for securing all the costs and expenses of reinstating the donation hold, mothballing, relocating, and establishing a permanent berth. In the unlikely chance that the endeavor fails, Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach, Inc. is required to post a bond - up front - to cover the cost of towing the ship to the designated scrapping location. No tax dollars would be used in preserving the USS Ranger.

On Dec. 22, 2014, the Navy paid $.01 to International Shipbreaker of Brownsville, Texas, to tow and scrap the USS Ranger. The final voyage is anticipated to begin in several weeks, and the tow is expected to take 5 months from the inactive ship's maintenance facility in Bremerton, through the Strait of Magellan, and finally to Brownsville. International Shipbreaker is expected to make a profit for the dismantling of the ship.

The USS Ranger was built in 1957 in Newport News, VA, and was the seventh Ranger to serve America. The current Ranger served in the Pacific, fighting in Vietnam (earning 13 battle stars) and was retrofitted into a modern war ship just prior to its essential service in the Persian Gulf, where it flew more combat missions than any other carrier.  Approximately 141 sailors and Marines died on Ranger during her 36 years of service to America, through 1993. In 1983 Ranger rescued Vietnamese refugees adrift in a boat for ten days in monsoon storms in the South China Sea. Bob Hope entertained Ranger's crew at sea at Christmastime. The USS Ranger served as an important filming location for "Top Gun" and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home."

Matt Kovacs/ Erinn Lynch


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SOURCE Top Gun Supercarrier

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