Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Last Battleships

USS Iowa[BB-61] opens fire in 1984 with a full broadside.
The lead ship of the Iowa class battleships, USS Iowa, has finally found a home. BB-61 with its nine 16-inch 50 calibre guns will be permanently moored in Vallejo California for inspection. Veteran of WWII, Korea, and the Cold War, Iowa earned eleven Battle Stars. Turret 2 has never been repaired after the explosion that killed 47 sailors in 1989. Considering the controversy that surrounded finding a berth for Iowa in California, with San Francisco scuttling chances with its silly political posturing, I am glad the ship has finally found a home.

For years USS Missouri[BB-63], the site of Japan's surrender to the Allies, has been moored in Pearl Harbor at USS Nevada's December 7th, 1941 spot on Battleship row just before the USS Arizona Memorial, her bow faces USS Arizona watching over those interred aboard the sunk battleship. Symbolizing the beginning and the end of American involvement in World War II and to honor all those who died serving their country. During her time of service, BB-63 earned eleven Battle Stars in WWII, Korea, and the Persian Gulf.
USS New Jersey[BB-62] draws tourist at its berth in Camden, NJ. This battleship earned 19 Battle Stars across WWII, Korea, VietNam, Lebanon, and the Persian Gulf. New Jersey is the only battleship of the Iowa class to have seen so much combat.

And finally USS Wisconsin[BB-64] is set to become a museum ship. Winner of six Battle Stars in WWII and Korea, Wisconsin will be docked in Norfolk, VA for tours. During the Persian Gulf War, both Wisconsin and Missouri entered the firing line to provide fire support. Which might be the final time any battleship has fired its main battery. Both battleships also launched Tomahawk cruise missiles during this time.

And if one thinks the age of the battleship is truly over, even for these 60 year old Queens of the Seas, there is always a chance of reactivation for two of these fine ships: Iowa and Wisconsin. Right now there is legislation that forbids the museums from altering either ship to prevent reactivation.

This post is for AndyJ. Thanks.


AndyJ said...

When I got out of Gunnersmate school in 1967, they were bringing back the Missouri. EVERYONE in our class put in to go to her. I think that only one or two of the class made it. The guys that we saw in Japan when we went there for yard period, who had the Missouri ship's patch on their shoulder were really hot stuff, even though we saw more fighting IN Vietnam than they saw.

Anna said...

Did not know Big Mo actually went on the gun line in VietNam. Cool.

It would have fitted your training better to have been aboard Big Mo and its 5in/38s versus OJT on the Bofors 40mm. Plus a better ride on the oceans. :)

Wonder what the Japanese thought, 20 years after the surrender, to have that battleship in port at Yokohama.

And I will keep[ tinkering with the post format until I get it straight.

Mike's America said...

That's a great photo of the Iowa. I was onboard her in New York Harbor in 1986. Very sad about the accident later.

I'm glad she will be preserved as a museum.

P.S. Sorry I haven't been around for a while. I lost alot of my bookmarks when I switched to a new computer.

Timothy said...

Loved the picture and had to post it... for the sake of the picture!

Anna said...

Mike, glad to see you found me again. :)

We do so much with technology that when something like our Favorites list goes *poof* we are reduced to someone who has lost the book with addresses of all our friends and family.

I just do not see the point of keeping Iowa preserved for mobilization when the Number #2 turret was never repaird after the explosion.

And Timothy, you are welcome to the picture. Found it an Answers.com. Left you some posts plus add you to blogroll.