U.S.S. Iowa BB-61: Benicia to Richmond


On Thursday October 27, 2011, USS Iowa was removed from the Suisun Bay Mothball Fleet and placed at the Port of Benicia, where she spent one night before beign transferred to Richmond. For the next three months, USS Iowa will undergo significant refurbishment before making the long journey to Berth 87 in Los Angeles where she will become an interactive museum.

The battle this ship has experienced since her decomissioning was politically based and spanned across the past ten years as she sat in Suisun Bay. There was always a push to turn the battleship into a museum in San Francisco, but the Board of Supervisors was against mooring a miliitary ship based on a "homophobic entity" within the confines of the city, which caused other organizations to raise money in the hopes to move the ship to another California dock. 

USS Iowa is the last of four remaining battleships of its kind and the last of the four to be turned into a museum. The 887 foot long USS Iowa, built in 1940, was the fastest ship in her class of battleship and the only ship of her class to have served in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. Her main battery consisted of nine 16"/50 Caliber Mark 7 guns which could fire 2,700lb shells approximately 20 miles. 

In 1989, during a gunnery excersise, an explosion occurred in the center gun room destroying Turret #2 and killing 47 sailors. 

The ship was decomissioned in 1990 and placed in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet short thereafter.

Port of Benicia

Leaving the Port of Benicia

Approaching the Carquinez Bridge

USS Iowa after passing under the Richmond Bridge

Nearing Berth 3 in Richmond

Tugboat pushes USS Iowa towards the pier

Aft guns

Arriving at Berth 3 in Richmond

Flying the US Flag in Richmond

Forward 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 guns

Portside guns, 5"/38 caliber twin turrets

Securing the mooring lines



WWII Veteran Joe served aboard USS Iowa during her first deployment in 1942. 


Photo: "Stand Down"

Battleship U.S.S. Iowa contains three 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 guns. The turrets were called "three-gun" (rather than "triple") because each gun could be angled and fired independently of the others. These guns were 66 feet long and fired projectiles weighing anywhere from 1,900 to 2,700lbs at a max speed of 2,690 feet per second for up to 24 miles.

This world class battleship currently sits in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet awaiting her fate. Currently there is a batte between Long Beach and Mare Island as to where the ship will be docked and turned into a museum. The Navy seems to have chosen Mare Island as the ship's home, but San Pedro seems to have more funding and monetary support.