Bay Area Loses USS Iowa to SoCal

The ship will be docked at Berth 87 in the Port of Los Angeles and is expected to draw as many as 500,000 tourists

By Scott Weber and Lori Preuitt
|  Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011  |  Updated 11:15 AM PDT
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An overhead view of the battleship USS IOWA (BB-61) firing all 15 of its guns (nine 16-inch and six 5-inch) during a target exercise near Vieques Island. Careful observation of the three main turrets shows the barrels in various states of recoil.

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The last surviving battleship in the world without a home has been awarded to Los Angeles.  That is terrible news to the people in Vallejo who have spent the past few years trying to get the ship to dock in their town.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the United States Navy has donated the World War II Battleship USS Iowa to the Pacific Battleship Center, who will in turn make the ship a permanent museum and memorial at the Port of Los Angeles.

The USS Iowa has been part of the mothball fleet in Benecia for over a decade. Now instead of making the short trip to Vallejo, it will at some point make the long trip down the California coast to L.A.

Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis told the Vallejo Times that he was both surprised and disappointed by the decision.

"I think it could have been a great addition to our waterfront," Davis told the paper.

The ship will be docked at Berth 87 in the Port of Los Angeles and is expected to draw as many as 450,000 tourists each year.

"Los Angeles is absolutely the right place for this historic battleship, and we are going to take great care of her,'' said Rep. Janice Hahn, whose district includes the port.

Hahn said she worked hard to secure the ship, which she said will generate $250 million of economic activity for the San Pedro economy over the next decade.

The Iowa, once dubbed the "Big Stick," is about the length of three football fields, and is the last surviving battleship in the world that has either not been scrapped or turned into a museum.

The ship will be towed to Los Angeles sometime between December and January and could be open to the public by the summer of 2012.

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