Shortly after the USS Albany CG-10 was decommissioned in 1980, a dedicated veteran by the name of Al Bursi (USS Salem) took the initiative to write letters to various public officials in an effort to bring the ship named Albany to the shores of Albany, New York. Congressman Samuel Stratton and Senator Floss responded to his plea. With their support, the “USS Albany Veterans Memorial Committee” was formed.
Under the direction of Captain William Windover, a large group consisting of active Naval personnel, government officials, retired Navy and various dedicated Naval veterans worked on numerous fund raising efforts to make the project a reality. The main objective was to bring the CG-10 to Albany, NY as a floating memorial for all veterans of New York state. Many long hours and a lot of hard work was expended, but in the spring of 1990, the Navy Department notified the committee that it no longer could hold onto the vessel due to associated costs and budget cut backs.
Based on the lack of local governmental commitment and available funds, the Veterans Memorial Committee had to relinquish their ties with the Navy Department. A bid package was then prepared for the scrap sale of the CG-10. The successful bidder was Jacobsen Scrap Metal Co. of Virginia.
As the lantern of hope seemed to dim, Wayne VanAmburgh received a call from Hilton Dana, a gentleman from Florida. He asked if Mr. Van Amburgh would be interested in organizing and hosting what would be the first reunion of shipmates who served on board either version of the USS Albany that shared the same hull (CA-123 & CG-10). In a short ten-month span, Mr. Van Amburgh and Mr. Dana put together a program that brought 212 people to Albany, New York for this gala event.
From this initial program, many accomplishments were achieved. The USS Albany Association was formed, plank ownerships were established. officers elected and the USS Albany Heritage Exhibit was created. As of 2016, Twenty-seven more successful reunion programs have been held with two more either ready to be held or in the planning process.
With a desire to make and preserve the history of the Naval vessels bearing the name “Albany”, the Heritage Exhibit Committee began work in September of 1990 to locate and restore artifacts from those ships. The task of dealing with federal and state government proved both very frustrating and extremely time consuming. Finally, after three long years of dedication by the five-person committee, on 2 September 1993, the “USS Albany Heritage Exhibit” became a reality.
The exhibit is open 7 days a week for all visitors and citizens of New York to enjoy. The committee’s objectives are now to periodically change and upgrade the exhibit and continue to obtain memorabilia for restoration and display.