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.