There was a lot to celebrate on the USS Ranger’s 53rd birthday.
Known as the “Top Gun of the Pacific Fleet,” the aircraft carrier has been the focus of a nearly decade-long effort, with the ultimate goal being to bring it from Bremerton, Wash., to the Portland-metro/Vancouver area so that the vessel could be used as a museum, tourist attraction, educational center, emergency preparedness center and military memorial.
Earlier this month, as part of the vessel’s birthday celebration, it was announced that the USS Ranger Foundation had selected Chinook Landing Marine Park in Fairview, Ore., on the Columbia River as the future home of the retired supercarrier.
“The USS Ranger Foundation is looking forward to partnering with other local tourist attractions to attract larger groups adding much needed tourists’ dollars to the economy,” said retired U.S. Navy Capt. Peter Ogle, foundation president and CEO.
Ray Kutch, a Washougal resident and current member of the USS Ranger Foundation board of directors and executive committee, said the road to get the project this far has been paved with challenges, but the effort has been worthwhile.
“We went from having a marketing plan on a cocktail napkin to developing a 110-page plan to present to public officials and show them what we could do and make it work for them,” Kutch said. “It’s been a long, difficult process, but a labor of love. We feel good about it.”