The Battleship USS Iowa Museum is a maritime museum and historic landmark in the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, California. The museum is dedicated to preserving the USS Iowa (BB-61) legacy, a World War II-era battleship that played a significant role in American naval history.
The USS Iowa served in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1990 and is the last lead ship of any class of United States battleships. Today, visitors can explore this iconic vessel and learn about its storied past, including its role in World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War.
History of the USS Iowa
The USS Iowa was commissioned in 1943 and quickly gained the nickname “The Big Stick” for its impressive firepower. The battleship was armed with nine 16-inch guns, twenty 5-inch guns, and various anti-aircraft weaponry. The Iowa was designed for speed and could reach speeds up to 33 knots, making it one of the fastest battleships of its time.
During World War II, the USS Iowa was the flagship for Admiral William Halsey’s Third Fleet. It participated in several key battles, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Battle of Okinawa. Iowa was briefly decommissioned following the war before being reactivated for the Korean War. The battleship served in various capacities throughout the Cold War, including as a missile test platform and a training ship.
In 1990, the USS Iowa was decommissioned for the final time and donated to the Pacific Battleship Center in 2011. The vessel was then towed to its current location in the Port of Los Angeles, where it opened as a museum in 2012.
Exhibits and Attractions
Visitors to the Battleship USS Iowa Museum can explore various areas of the ship, including the main deck, the bridge, the captain’s cabin, and the crew quarters. The museum offers guided tours that provide detailed information about the ship’s history, technology, and life onboard for the sailors who served on Iowa.
Some of the highlights of the museum include:
The 16-inch Gun Turret Experience: This exhibit allows visitors to step inside one of the ship’s massive gun turrets and learn about loading, aiming, and firing the powerful 16-inch guns.
The Tomahawk Cruise Missile Display: This exhibit showcases the modern weaponry added to the USS Iowa during its Cold War service, including the Tomahawk Cruise Missile system.
The Ship’s Bridge: Visitors can step onto the ship’s bridge and see the various instruments and controls used by the crew to navigate and operate the battleship.
The Captain’s Cabin: Explore the living quarters of the ship’s commanding officer, including the captain’s stateroom, office, and private dining room.
The Crew’s Quarters: Get a glimpse into the daily life of the sailors who served on the USS Iowa by exploring the crew’s sleeping quarters, mess halls, and recreation areas.
Visiting the Battleship USS Iowa Museum
The Battleship USS Iowa Museum is open daily except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Admission fees vary, with discounts available for seniors, military personnel, and children. Group rates and guided tours are also available.
For more information on planning your visit to the Battleship USS Iowa Museum, please visit their official website at www.pacificbattleship.com.
Take advantage of the opportunity to explore this incredible piece of American naval history and pay tribute to the brave men and women who served aboard the USS Iowa.