The lead ship of the magnificent Iowa-class battleships, the fastest and most advanced gun ships every to put to sea, has arrived at her new home, Berth 87 in San Pedro, opposite the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, itself newly renovated.

Iowa (BB-61) was saved from her Suisun Bay purgatory, and the cutting torch, and will be open for visitors on 7 July. The veteran of World War II and Korea was recommissioned in 1984, and suffered the tragic explosion in Turret 2 in 1989, which killed 47 sailors.

She now is the last of the four of her namesake class to be preserved, with New Jersey (BB-62) in Camden NJ, Wisconsin (BB-64 and Scott’s beloved Big Badger Boat!) in Norfolk, VA, and Missouri (BB-63) at Pearl Harbor, near Arizona (BB-39), forever in her watery depths at Berth F-7.

As a museum battleship, Iowa joins her sisters, and USS Massachusetts (BB-59) at Fall River MA, and USS Alabama (BB-60) in Mobile Bay, the two surviving South Dakotas, and the Grand Dame of US battlewagons, the venerable USS Texas (BB-35) at Galveston, TX. (Texas is the lone second-generation Dreadnought still extant, and saw service in both World Wars following her commissioning in 1914.)

Iowa began her journey from the “Mothball Fleet” in Suisun Bay in October 2011, to Richmond CA to repair and restore, scrape and paint, and replace rotted teak decks that are the inevitable result of twenty years’ time at the mercy of the elements. She also received the sprucing befitting a lady whom will be in the public eye. From there, she passed under the Golden Gate one last time late in May, and arrived off Los Angeles on Friday.

Many thanks to all those folks whose pictures I used in this post.


As Mr. Robert Evans points out, I am guilty of a most egregious omission. USS North Carolina (BB-55) is preserved beautifully in Wilmington NC. Shame on me for missing the “Showboat”. Especially since it was a favorite destination during my two tours at Lejeune!!!

Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Air Force, Army, Books, Coast Guard, Foreign Policy, Hard Power, History, Homeland Security, Marine Corps, Maritime Security, Naval Institute, Navy, Proceedings, Travel

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  • Jim Dolbow

    Great post URR! I am looking forward to touring IOWA real soon!

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Jim! Good to see you pop up! Yeah, I now have a reason to visit LA, preferably in mid-winter!

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Seeing her at anchor there makes me think I just heard, faintly across the waters, the 1MC sounding “Liberty call, liberty call. All hands in the liberty watch sections muster for liberty call. I say again, liberty call, liberty call.”

  • stallingsja

    While not a museum (or even a whole ship), the mast of the USS Oregon (BB-3) stands in memorial in a park in Portland.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Oh hokey smoke. The one I visited most often!!!

    Galloping senility?

  • Not a battleship, but one of the last Heavy Cruisers, now even more rare than a battleship, the Salem is preserved in Quincy, MA as well.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Salem is well worth seeing. The Mk 16 8″/55s are worth the trip by themselves. And the docents are magnificent and knowledgeable gentlemen!

  • Thanks for the correction!

  • Claus Valca

    RE: “…and the Grand Dame of US battlewagons, the venerable USS Texas (BB-35) at Galveston, TX.”

    Actually, the USS Texas is “berthed” at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site complex in LaPorte, Texas, operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. That’s a fair bit north of Galveston, up the Houston Ship Channel.

    Battleship Texas State Historic Site.

    Galveston, TX can lay claim to both the USS CAVALLA (SS-244) ; the USS STEWART (DE-238) at the Seawolf Park complex.

    Seawolf Park

    We locals are very proud and honored to have the BB-35 resting nearby acting as a teacher to new generations of citizens.



  • UltimaRatioReg


    Thanks for the clarification. Since I am from Vermont, USS Texas is “Galveston-ish”.

    Like everything north of Philadelphia being “up there” to someone in Texas! 🙂

  • URR,

    As an Iowa sailor, I really appreciate you posting this piece about my old home.

    Her restoration and move would not have been possible without the efforts of the Pacific Battleship Center,

    For those who are interested, her grand opening to the public at Berth 87 in San Pedro will be on July 7th, 2012, after she plays host to the reunion of the Iowa Veterans Association on July 2-6.

  • eastriver

    Since there are mentions of cruisers, and venerable ships — USS OLYMPIA, C-6 is still hanging on. Let’s hope someday she’ll have as grand a welcome as IOWA received, to a more hospitable berth.

  • Thank you URR, for a great post about the Iowa. As Ken Adams noted, the people at Pacific Battleship Center and their volunteers preformed a magnificant job of taking her from a rusting state, to looking like she just came out of Huntington Ingalls and ready for service.

    The folks at USNI might give some consideration to a field trip next year at West 2013.

  • I’ll have to go visit the old girl. And it should be mentioned that there is a Victory ship open for tours (and dang near every compartment is open to you) in San Pedro as well.

  • James (the other one)

    You dont know how my heart lept at seeing the iowa sailing. I had that OMG THEIR REAT!….but nope.

    But i would love to go see them all one day when i have the money. I find it ironic we have so many battleships saved. How many nations can say the same around the world. I know i have heard the brits mourne their lack.

  • Derrick

    Not related to this thread, but would make for an interesting post here. Would like to know what systems are affected: