Storied battleship making final port call in Los Angeles

Fri May 18, 2012 12:51pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The USS Iowa, which ferried the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt across the perilous Atlantic waters to a historic meeting with Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin in the dark days of World War Two, will have to be towed to its final port call.

The battleship saw combat in the Pacific, survived a devastating explosion in a gun turret, and even a snub from the city of San Francisco. At the end of its final voyage, the storied warship will have a permanent mooring in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to create a permanent home for the ship at the city's port, where it will open as a floating museum.

The vessel, which saw service with the U.S. Navy over six tumultuous decades, will become the only battleship museum on the U.S. West Coast when it opens on July 7.

"There's no more ships like this in existence in the active navies anywhere in the world," said Robert Kent, president of the Pacific Battleship Center.

"They've either been sunk, scrapped or turned into museums, and the Iowa is the last battleship to find a home," he added.

The 887-foot Iowa-class warship was commissioned in 1943.

That same year it took Roosevelt across the Atlantic on his way to a meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran with British Prime Minister Churchill and Soviet strongman Stalin, the first conference of the "Big Three" Allied leaders of the war.   Continued...

Volunteers work under the 16-inch guns at the stern of the U.S. battleship "USS Iowa" in Richmond, California May 17, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith