US Navy Formally Transfers Battleship Iowa to Pacific Battleship Center
The Navy formally transferred ownership of the historic battleship Iowa (BB 61) to the Pacific Battleship Center April 30.
The transfer followed the completion of the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act regulatory requirements.
The ship donation contract was signed in the Capitol Hill office of Iowa Rep. Tom Latham, with Robert Kent, president of the Pacific Battleship Center, signing for the donee and Vice Adm. W. Mark Skinner, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition), signing for the Navy.
The ship’s tow to its new permanent home at the Port of Los Angeles will commence May 20, departing the Port of Richmond, Calif., where it has been undergoing repairs before formally opening as a museum July 4.
“Today marks the transition from the ship’s storied naval career to a brand new career as a museum and memorial that will serve for generations to come,” said Skinner. “I look forward to seeing her brought back to life for public display, continuing to serve our country and its citizens in a new capacity.”
The fiscal year 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, Public Law 109-163, authorized the secretary of the Navy to strike Iowa from the Naval Vessel Register and offer the ship for donation to an eligible entity which will display the ship within the state of California. After an evaluation of competing proposals, the Navy selected the Pacific Battleship Center as the recipient on Sept. 6, 2011.
Iowa was the leader of a class of powerful and heavily armed fast battleships, the last of their type constructed for the U.S. Navy. Iowa transported President Franklin D. Roosevelt across the Atlantic on the first leg of his journey to conference with allied war leaders at Tehran, Iran, in 1943. Iowa served in fast carrier task forces in the Pacific Fleet and conducted shore bombardments during World War II and the Korean War, and participated in U.S. Navy operations to protect Kuwaiti tankers from Iranian attacks in 1987 and 1988. Iowa was decommissioned for the final time in 1990.
Iowa is the last of the four Iowa-class battleships to be donated. New Jersey (BB 62), located in Camden, N.J., was donated in 2000; Missouri (BB 63), located in Honolulu, Hawaii, was donated in 1998, and Wisconsin (BB 64), located in Norfolk, Va., was donated in 2009.
The Navy donates historic ships to promote public interest in the defense of the nation, commemorate naval history and heritage, and to honor the men and women who built and sailed these ships.
Naval Today Staff, May 02, 2012; Image: navy