USS Iowa (BB-61)
Iowa July 2012
Class: Iowa Battleship
Length: 887 feet, 3 inches
USS Iowa began her service with a mission to hunt down the German Battleship Tirpitz. Unsuccessful in locating Tirpitz, Iowa returned to the United States to be fitted out with a bathtub and elevator for President Roosevelt. Early in the morning on November 11, 1943, the President was transferred from the USS Potomac to Iowa for his trip to Casablanca for the Teheran Conference. In addition to the President, the majority of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was on board for the secret crossing.
The USS Iowa spent the remainder of World War II in the Pacific Theatre, where she participated in numerous campaigns including Truk, Wake Islands, Saipan, Tinian, Phillipine Sea, Kyushu, Hokkaido, and finally Tokyo Bay, where she acted as the radio ship for the Japanese surrender ceremonies. She was placed out of commission in reserve at Hunter's Point on March 24, 1949.
Recommissioned on August 25, 1951 due to escalating hostilities in Korea, Iowa went on to destroy numerous vital North Korean positions including the rail center at Chongjin, shut down railroad tunnels near Tanchon and Songjin, and participated in Operation Decoy. During her Korean tour, the USS Iowa steamed more than 40,000 nautical miles. Iowa continued worldwide service until her decommissioning at Philadelphia Navy Yard on February 24, 1958.
On February 22, 1983 - after 25 years in mothballs - Iowa and her sisters were called on once again to serve in the Cold War. Iowa was recommissioned by then Vice President George H.W. Bush in Pascagoula, Mississippi ahead of schedule and within budget. The USS Iowa participated in numerous exercises including humanitarian aid, COMPUTEX 1-85, Ocean Safari, BALTOPS 85, Operation Northern Wedding, BLASTEX 1-87, SACEX, FLEETEX 3-87, INCHOP, and fired a 16-inch round the furthest distance (23.4 NM) for a first round target hit.
During a gunnery exercise, at 0955 on April 19, 1989, a tragic explosion tore through Turret 2, killing 47 crewmen off the coast of Puerto Rico. An investigation ensued, originally blaming a dead crewmember for the explosion, but after Congress forced the Navy to reopen the investigation, independent investigators uncovered evidence pointing to an accidental powder explosion rather than an intentional act of sabotage.
USS Iowa was decommissioned for the third time on October 26, 1990. Pacific Battleship Center was awarded custody on September 6, 2011 and opened as a museum in the Port of Los Angeles July 2012.
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