USS KIDD volunteers receive honors from Historic Naval Ships Association

USS KIDD volunteers receive honors from Historic Naval Ships Association

Information provided by USS Kidd Veterans Museum Staff:

BATON ROUGE, LA - Volunteers and staff members of the USS KIDD Veterans Museum earned five international level awards at the Historic Naval Ships Association annual conference and banquet held at the USS LEXINGTON Museum On The Bay located in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Friday, September 23.

USS KIDD volunteers Wallace B. "Mac" Mackensen of Ventress and Henry J. "Hank" Taddeucci of Loveland, Colorado, were honored for their outstanding dedication and years of service toward the preservation of the KIDD, a National Historic Landmark located in downtown Baton Rouge. Ship Superintendent & Educational Outreach Coordinator Tim NesSmith and former Executive Director Alejandra "Alex" Juan were also recognized.

The Historic Naval Ships Association is a world renowned organization. Their fleet consists of 188 unique and timeless vessels belonging to 13 member nations spanning five continents. Their mission is to support the preservation of historic naval vessels and to honor those who have served at sea in defense of their countries. HNSA's vessels speak of their nations' histories in a way that websites or videos cannot. Consisting of both museums and memorials, these ships not only honor veterans but also provide an exciting and fun place to learn about history, technology, and more.

"The Historic Naval Ships Association is delighted and honored that several of its annual awards were given to staff and volunteers of the USS KIDD," said Dr. William B. Cogar, Executive Director of HNSA.  "These awards are given to those who have demonstrated the highest levels of dedication, excellence in service, and professionalism in their particular areas of expertise.  The USS KIDD remains one of the premier vessels of the HNSA Fleet, and her crew members continue to serve as inspiration to other ships throughout the nation for the efforts and successes that they have accomplished for their vessel."

"It is very gratifying to see others recognize what we see day-to-day," said Henson Moore, chairman of the Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission. The Commission is the non-funded state agency responsible for the operations and oversight of the facility. "KIDD would not be considered a 'gold standard' of ship restorations without the commitment to excellence that our staff and volunteers show. We are grateful to HNSA for recognizing their hard work."

Radarman 2nd Class Wallace B. "Mac" Mackensen is a Cold War veteran who began volunteering aboard KIDD in 2003.  He earned HNSA's distinguished Bos'n Marvin Curry Award for exceptional service in the areas of interpretation, maintenance, preservation, and restoration. Only one of these awards is issued annually. This marks the third year in a row that a KIDD volunteer has received this honor: Garrett Lynch in 2014, Frank "Beef" Lewis in 2015, and now Mackensen in 2016.

Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Henry J. "Hank" Taddeucci is also a Cold War veteran who served aboard USS KIDD in 1961-62. He has volunteered aboard his old ship via the museum's Field Day program since 2005. He earned HNSA's Maintenance/Preservation/Exhibition Award for exemplary work in those areas over a long period on a part-time basis. Taddeucci travels regularly from Colorado each October to help repair and replace ropework along the decks of his old destroyer. KIDD volunteers have also been among those receiving this honor for the past three years: George Seal in 2014, Richard Ammon in 2015, and now Taddeucci in 2016.

Former KIDD Executive Director Alejandra "Alex" Juan earned HNSA's William J. Difley Award which honors departing directors of HNSA Fleet Member organizations who have contributed in some great measure to the success of their museums. From December 2013 to May 2016, Juan successfully steered the museum through a difficult financial period and a state investigation. New programming initiated under her tenure garnered international attention from as far away as India and an 86% increase in attendance in 2015.

Tim NesSmith has worked at the USS KIDD since 1995, starting out as a part-time tour guide. He advanced through the ranks to his current position as Ship Superintendent & Educational Outreach Coordinator where he guides the ship's restoration and the museum's educational efforts. He earned HNSA's Educator Award for performance at a superior level in furthering the museum's education program. He was further honored by his peers in HNSA with the Old Walrus Award, given for demonstrated knowledge of the Historic Naval Ship Fleet and cooperation and assistance with other fleet members.

The recipients will be recognized in the coming weeks at the KIDD and during the upcoming Fall Field Day scheduled on October 27-30. The Field Day allows volunteers from across the country to help with ship maintenance and restoration while interacting and learning from fellow veterans. Interested parties are encouraged to sign up.