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  1. #1

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    USS Iowa towed home to her final port (pics included)

    There are those rare moments that life hands you. Chances to see things that most individuals will never get to see. Years ago as a child I stood in awe on the deck of the USS Missouri. I witnessed, with my own eyes, how massive the 16in guns really are. I was stunned at the size of this beautiful ship. While I didn't get to see her sail (she was in dry dock), I got to "be there" to see her. Within a month she was shipped out to Hawaii to become a floating museum. I hear she's still amazing, but I haven't had the chance to see her yet. 2 decades later my own kids now have a similar experience to retell.

    You can research the USS Iowa online. You can read a tale that feels fit for a movie script. She's the "sister ship" of the USS Missouri. She's big, powerful, and has carried 3 different sitting presidents. She's the only Iowa Class that served in both oceans during WW2. To put it bluntly she's one of the "crown jewels" of the WW2 fleet. She was "given" to San Francisco. Sadly, she wasn't welcome. Mare Island promised to be her new home, but the support was half-hearted and the efforts stalled. A full decade after being decommissioned a group from the city of San Pedro came calling. San Pedro is a blue collar town, a Navy town, a fishing town. Many times it has sat in the shadow of Long Beach. Just like the Iowa it has fought for everything it has. It took almost 2 years to do it. Finally the USS Iowa has a home, and San Pedro has something that she truly deserves.

    Tink wasn't available today. Despite that I still managed to take my kids down to see the USS Iowa towed to her final port. This will likely be the last time she will be in "open water" and I wanted to make sure they saw it. Special thanks to my own mom who was ready and willing to go with me to see this. Without her help it would have been very difficult to do this.


    The fire boat escort


    The USS Iowa barely starting to make her entrance


    In all her glory with a tall ship on either side.


    Tugs gently guiding her as she is moved down the channel. You can see her disconnected tow chain on the bow.


    Her decks filled with members of the Pacific Battleship Center, VIP's and local officials.


    A perspective shot to show you just how massive this ship is. This is without zoom... we were that close and she is 884ft long.


    I plan on giving a copy to each of my kids. So that if they have kids of their own and take them on the USS Iowa they'll be able to show them! They will forever remember the day the USS Iowa came home.


    3 tugs provided the steering in the back.


    Lots of water from the smaller fire boat.

    They had to take her under a stretch of the Vincent Thomas bridge. She clears, but barely. They then had to turn her around, full U turn, and bring her back to her final spot at Berth 87. There she will sit as she continues to undergo her transition. On Saturday July 7th she will open to the public.

    I still can't believe how lucky we were to see this. I was shocked that the waterfront wasn't more crowded. This was an exceptionally rare opportunity, not likely to happen again for many years, if ever. This is the last of the battleships. I don't know if anyone else was able to make it down today but I hope some did.
    Last edited by techskip; 06-09-2012 at 08:30 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Re: USS Iowa towed home to her final port (pics included)

    I am quite glad a few of these ships have found new homes as museums so the public has a chance to see what they are like on board.

    I had a awesome time last time I visited home in San Diego and finally was able to go to the USS Midway museum.

    When I was in the 6th grade in the early 90's, we took a field trip to see the USS Missouri while she was in San Diego, got to have lunch on board and even received a certificate and photo of the ship is a nice padded folder type holder, it is really neat. I think I still have it somewhere.

  3. #3

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    Re: USS Iowa towed home to her final port (pics included)

    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith11618 View Post
    I am quite glad a few of these ships have found new homes as museums so the public has a chance to see what they are like on board.

    I had a awesome time last time I visited home in San Diego and finally was able to go to the USS Midway museum.

    When I was in the 6th grade in the early 90's, we took a field trip to see the USS Missouri while she was in San Diego, got to have lunch on board and even received a certificate and photo of the ship is a nice padded folder type holder, it is really neat. I think I still have it somewhere.
    In some respects it's like Hoover Dam. You read about these titans in the history books but you never truly appreciate the massive scale until you're next to them. Down in San Pedro they have the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. The small park in front of it has a barrel and 2 shells mounted on public display. They're either 14in or 16in... I'd have to check the plaque. Either way I want to get the kids down there to give them a reference point (the barrel is mounted lengthwise on the ground with a shell on either side of it). The Pacific Battleship Center also has a "welcoming center" off 6th street. It's temporary while they work on the battleship. I hear they have a few small exhibits, merchandise, and the USS Iowa model. The address is 437 6th Street, San Pedro. I will try to get down there this weekend to get some more photos (it was too crowded last weekend).

    For anyone wondering about the Iowa herself, she opens to the public July 7th. So until then you can't get on board, but you can easily see her on the San Pedro waterfront if you just want a glimpse.

    ---------- Post added 06-11-2012 at 07:54 AM ----------

    Sorry for being lazy, I looked it up
    Visitors to the park are dwarfed by the once powerful gun barrel and 2,700lb shells from the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey, the nation's most decorated battleship.
    So that would be a 16in barrel. Incidentally the USS New Jersey is a sister ship to the USS Iowa.
    http://www.angelswalkla.org/pdfs/AWLA_SP_GUIDEBOOK.pdf page 11

    I also read a few articles discussing the uphill battle some museum ships face. The USS New Jersey is in a "rough area" and is having a lot of trouble meeting the attendance goals. The USS Intrepid by comparison (in New York) is doing extremely well. Part of the difference is that aircraft carriers have a lot of open space and lend themselves easily to events. Battleships, by comparison, are massive floating gun batteries with a little extra room for fuel, powder, and crew. Hopefully the USS Iowa does well in San Pedro.
    Last edited by techskip; 06-11-2012 at 07:00 AM.
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  4. #4

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    Re: USS Iowa towed home to her final port (pics included)

    growing up around the navy I've been lucky to see several of the key 'tourist' things...
    Pearl Harbor and it's museums.. including the Missouri
    and the battleship Wisconsin in Norfolk (all Iowa class battleships)
    and cruised on the carrier America.. watched F-14s and F/A-18s take off on the catapult at sea and on land

    Alas what I've never seen that I would love to.. is experience the 16in being fired. Something that is only in history now...
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  5. #5

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    Re: USS Iowa towed home to her final port (pics included)

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    Alas what I've never seen that I would love to.. is experience the 16in being fired. Something that is only in history now...

    early training movie reel for the 16's


    USS Wisconsin showing modern loading (sorry for the bad 80's music)


    Iowa firing the 16's. Ironically this video was made to "drum up support" because San Pedro began petitioning to reopen the bid.

    I would have paid to "be there" when they fired. I'm told the experience is earth shaking.
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