“When I think about Dwight Eisenhower,” wrote Capt. Edward Beach Jr., Eisenhower’s naval aide, “I like to recall an incident that took place aboard the presidential yacht Williamsburg shortly after he was inaugurated for his first term in 1953.”
The Williamsburg, a steel-hulled vessel of 1,800 tons, had served as President Harry S. Truman’s pleasure craft; he used it for cruises with friends and political cronies. In May 1953 President Eisenhower ordered it decommissioned. He thought the ship frivolous and wasteful and felt it should be used for recreation by GIs who had been injured in the Korean War. One evening the president met the ship at the dock in the Washington Navy Yard as it returned from a cruise on the Potomac.