Skip to comments.Mast raising caps historic day for USS Iowa
Posted on 04/25/2012 5:00:08 AM PDT by iowamark
Late Tuesday morning crews placed the USS Iowas original mast back onto the WWII era vessel.
Its a major milestone on our path, said Robert Kent, president of the Pacific Battleship Center, the organization working to restore the Iowa.
The mast had been removed in 2001 when the Navy moved the Iowa to a reserve fleet in Suisun Bay, Calif. In late 2011, the Navy awarded the ship to the Pacific Battleship Center, who will eventually turn the ship into a floating museum in the Los Angeles area. Currently the ship is docked at the Port of Richmond, near San Francisco.
We cant bring it back to Iowa, said Jeff Lamberti, a lead fundraiser on the project and the former Republican leader of the Iowa Senate. Los Angeles will be a great place for the world to see (the Iowa).
On February 1, Governor Branstad signed a bill pledging $3 million in support of the project.
Im glad theyre saving the ship, theres a history there, and people of Iowa should be very proud, said WWII veteran Mike Wunderlich, who periodically works as a volunteer on the ship.
Crews used a giant barge to lift the 52 thousand pound mast more than 100 feet in the air and place it on top of the ship. An Iowa quarter was placed underneath the mast before it was welded back onto the ship, a Navy tradition.
Im thrilled for the state of Iowa because this is a very meaningful ship, said Bob Rogers, a Pacific Battleship Center volunteer who has spent the last decade fighting to save the vessel. This is the last major element of the ship to go up.
The USS Iowa is perhaps most notable for serving as President Franklin Delano Roosevelts personal ship during WWII. The Iowa carried him across the Atlantic ocean in 1943 to meet with allied leaders. The ship is equipped with a handicap accessible bathtub, which FDR needed because he battled polio, although few people knew it at the time.
Crews will being towing the Iowa towards the Los Angeles area on May 20, ahead of a July 4 opening ceremony.
I was fortunate to attend the recommissioning of the Iowa in 1984. Many family members and friends worked on her to get her updated. She is a BEAUTIFUL ship.
The last battleship the SF Bay will ever see.
I just sent a resume to this group last night to hopefully work on the ship when it gets to So Cal!
It will be good to know another of the Iowa BB’s will be preserved as there are no ships like them.
The thing that bothered me is that the EPA determines where and when anybody on the ship is allowed to go. When did we make the EPA our Overlord?
The US has almost as many preserved battleships now as the Pacific fleet had commissioned ones in 1941.
The armor intended for both the unbuilt Iowas and Montanas is still laying around somewhere in Philadelphia and Norfolk navy yards. At least it was until fairly recently.
I was there that day as part of the crew. I doubt if I get that close to a Vice President again.
It was an awesome ship to serve on. I even got to take some pictures of turret two firing during sea trials. It was an experience few people on this planet have had. There was no “clicking the shutter” when ready to take the pics. I had to hold the camera against the rail of the ship and wait for the shockwave to push my finger against the shutter release. It worked.... :)
We toured the carrier Midway in San Diego last month. It truly has become a museum.
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