The final journey of the USS Iowa concluded with her arrival in Southern California Wednesday. Personnel who served on the USS Iowa said they were “extremely pleased and proud” their ship was being returned to her “original beauty and glory” as a museum/memorial.
“Many of our members who served aboard during WWII and Korea are now quite elderly. For them, the opportunity to set foot aboard their ship once again is the answer to a prayer,” said Gerald Gneckow, President, Veterans Association of the USS Iowa.
In a few days she will pull into the Port of Los Angeles. For now though she is anchored off of Seal Beach.
“It’s going to moor about three miles off the coast of Los Angeles for a hull cleaning so that when she comes in she’s not bringing any invasive species from Northern California to Southern California,” Bob Rogers, Northern California Media Consultant, USS Iowa.
When the hull cleaning is complete, the USS Iowa will be towed to Berth 51-52, where she will be moored until Saturday, June 9. On that day, harbor tugs will move her down the main channel to its permanent home in Berth 87 at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro.
The public will be able to see the battleship from the pier but won’t be able to board her until it opens as a museum on July 7th.
“Her insides are nice. They’re just dusty and dirty and it’s just a matter of going in and cleaning up and painting the spaces and spiffing them up,” said Rogers.
In just over a month the USS Iowa will be retrofitted as an interactive museum with science, technology, and history exhibits.
The USS Iowa is more than 15 stories high, 887 feet long and weighs more than 45,000 tons. It’s known as the Battleship of Presidents because it hosted Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
“She had a number of grand moments. She carried President Roosevelt to a meeting in Tehran that was with Stalin, Churchill, and Chang Ki-Shek and it was to plan World War II in the second front,” said Rogers.
The USS Iowa museum will include a tour of unique modifications made especially for Roosevelt.
“The stateroom President Roosevelt stayed in was designed so he could roll his wheelchair around in there. It has a bath tub with ADA rails. It’s the only ship in the Navy with a bathtub,” said Rogers.
For tour information and tickets, click here.