The USS Cassin Young DD 793 Association has been revived after several years of inactivity. The Association was founded in 1980 by two Boston “Plank Owners,” Sumner Wheeler and Dave O’Connell. The mission of the Association is to assist in preserving and protecting USS Cassin Young.
The non-profit organization has joined forces with another non-profit, “The Friends of the Cassin Young” (FOTCY) is comprised of Cassin Young ship volunteers who provide countless hours completing maintenance and preservation projects onboard the ship. A number of volunteers conduct tours and programs for the public, as well.
During its active years the USS Cassin Young DD 793 Association provided support to Cassin Young volunteers by purchasing uniform items for the volunteer crew, funded volunteer luncheons and award ceremonies, and provided funding to develop programs with the National Park Service to promote the ship’s history. For nearly two decades the Association provided funding to support the ship’s Annual Commemorative Sea Trials. Each October, in celebration of the Navy’s birthday, the ship would be towed into Boston Harbor with several hundred guests, former crew members, their families and local dignitaries on board. Each year, for 19 years, a theme would be selected by the NPS and USN that reflected the ship’s history.
The annual cruise provided an opportunity for the National Park Service to present programs on various topics involving the history of the Charlestown Navy Yard and USS Cassin Young. Park staff used these opportunities to collect oral histories from former crew and interview Tin Can Sailors who served on similar ships. It also provided an opportunity for the Association to generate revenue through the ship’s store. Proceeds from the ship’s store helped fund the following year’s cruise.
The challenge of maintaining and preserving the aging infrastructure of a Navy installation that was commissioned in 1800 and a Navy ship commissioned in 1943 is a daunting task, at the very least. In recent years NPS has lost staffing positions on the ship and in their maintenance department. The obvious result is a need to recruit more volunteers interested in preserving an historic Navy ship and to bring two dedicated and committed non-profits, The Friends of the Cassin Young (FOTCY) and the USS Cassin Young Association together to assist the National Park Service in keeping this historic ship afloat and open to the public.