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Battleship Iowa to become museum in California

Sep. 6, 2011 - 06:00PM   |   Last Updated: Sep. 6, 2011 - 06:00PM  |  
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SAN DIEGO — The historic battleship Iowa will live out its next chapter at a new permanent home in Southern California.

The Navy announced Tuesday that it will donate the ship to the Pacific Battleship Center, a nonprofit group that plans to berth the Iowa at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro for use as a floating museum.

In making the decision, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus picked the Los Angeles site over a competing application from the Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square, a group based in Vallejo near Iowa's current home with the mothballed fleet in Suisun Bay.

"I am pleased this historic battleship will serve as a tribute to the sailors, who contributed to her storied legacy," Mabus said in the announcement issued by Naval Sea Systems Command. "I am confident that the Iowa will be proudly displayed in the Port of Los Angeles as a symbol of her distinctive place in our nation's history."

The Navy will transfer the Iowa, nicknamed the "Big Stick," to the Pacific Battleship Center after the completion of reviews required through the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act. The center will establish the 887-foot-long Iowa as a "living" museum at Berth 87 in San Pedro, with tours, displays and educational programs open to the public, according to the group.

Iowa, commissioned in 1943, was decommissioned in 1990, a year after an explosion in its No. 2 16-inch gun turret killed 47 sailors. It is the last of four Iowa-class battleships to be donated. The others are New Jersey, in Camden, N.J.; Missouri, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Wisconsin, in Norfolk, Va.

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