NLUS Pittsburgh Council Presidents Message

NLUS Pittsburgh Council President’s Message

Dear fellow citizens in support of our sea services

The Navy League was founded in 1902 at the encouragement of President Theodore Roosevelt to provide a civilian voice that could help to influence the country and the Congress in recognizing the importance of a strong sea service.  We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational and advocacy organization that supports America’s sea services — the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and U.S.-flag Merchant Marine.

The Pittsburgh area has always had a strong role in providing manpower, materials and machines for the nation’s defense in times of war and peace. But the need for a formal support group became very evident in the weeks that followed the Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. The Pittsburgh Council of the United States Navy League was founded in January of 1942 and has seen over seventy six years of continuous support.

The events in the world over the next seventy six years would give opportunity for Pittsburgh and the Council to be there to answer the country’s call. Pittsburgh’s steel helped to rebuild the shattered fleets and build new infrastructure across the country to support the war effort. Pittsburgh was at the center of the "Arsenal of Democracy" that provided steel, aluminum, munitions and machinery for the U.S. and the Allies during World War II. Pittsburgh's mills contributed 95 million tons of steel to the war effort.

When the Second World War ended, new threats emerged as the Iron Curtain rose around Europe. A small announcement was made on December 28, 1948 that would change the nature of warfare at sea: “The job of building the nation’s first atomic-powered engine -- for use in propelling a navy ship -- was assigned by the Atomic Energy Commission to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, which immediately made preparation to employ some 600 persons in the district for the project.”

Form that humble birth, a nuclear Navy was born that protects the nation to this day.

During all that time, the Pittsburgh Navy League has supported all of the sea services with time, money and support from many volunteers. Our quarterly newsletters linked on this website identify the specific programs and also identify the opportunities for you to participate.  One of our primary missions is to provide direct support to the crew of the USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) as well as family support when the ship is deployed. One of the most significant contributions through the years is the scholarship fund managed by the Relief Crew which has provided over $100,000 in scholarships through the years.

Other specific projects have included:

  • VA Hospital in Aspinwall
  • Steel City NROTC, based at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh
  • The US Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit
  • Navy Recruiting District Pittsburgh
  • Marine Corps Recruiting District Pittsburgh
  • Navy Operational Support center (NOSC) Pittsburgh
  • NOSC Erie
  • Naval Sea Cadets Pittsburgh
  • Quarterly Sea Service Commands Pittsburgh
  • Other sea service education programs as identified

These programs are all worthwhile and help us to fulfill our mission:

“A civilian organization dedicated to informing the American people and their government that the United States is a maritime nation and that its national defense and economic well-being are dependent on strong seas services – United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard and United States Merchant Marine.

Why does it matter?  When Theodore Roosevelt first saw the need for a National Navy League, America was just at the beginning of its journey to being a global power. The threats in not doing so were very real then. The threats of not maintaining that strength now are even more important. Countries that have shown hostile intent towards our interests are once again on the rise around the globe. The Global War on Terror has tested our military and steadily worn down our capacity to respond to these emerging threats. We must make sure that the nation is prepared for war or peace.

I am convinced that the Navy League is needed now just as it was in 1902 and again in 1942. We have a responsibility to be that voice that reminds people of the challenges in the world that will only be met by maintaining a strong response to those threats.

I am asking for your help. First, support the programs identified in our newsletters with your volunteerism and financial support as needed. Second, make sure you are staying educated about how important Pittsburgh still is to defending this nation. Third, seek ways that you can help the League with its mission of educating others and especially the Congress. We were fortunate to have time to rebuild after Pearl Harbor. The threats that exist today may deny us the same fortune in any future conflict.

Thanks to all the volunteers who have made a difference. My theme for 2018 is:

“Whatever it takes”

To fulfill our mission, I am asking each of you to consider joining and doing whatever it takes to help us educate people and serve those who serve us.

In Support of our Sea Services

Bob MacPherson, President


Pittsburgh Council, Patriotism & Gratitude, Honor, Knowledge, Service, Awareness, & Engagement