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Official Blog of USS IOWA BB-61

Wargaming America to Bring History Alive with Virtual Ship Battles aboard the USS IOWA

Visitors to enjoy CG helm experience, and aerial combat to defend the ship

The USS IOWA battleship made its final voyage to its new home in the Port of Los Angeles last week and Wargaming America has been hard at work creating virtual battle scenarios for future USS IOWA visitors to enjoy. The battleship is set to become a museum this July, and Wargaming is bringing its history to life by creating a bridge experience and an aerial combat game that will live on the ship and showcase its firepower and aerial defenders in action.

In the ship’s below-deck digital theater, Wargaming America will offer a virtual video experience from the bridge recreating the ship’s role in supporting the American landings at Okinawa, Japan, in 1945. Visitors will see the ship’s impressive turrets as its 16-inch guns rotate and fire at their targets.

In addition, Wargaming is developing a game room on board the ship that will put visitors in Grumman F6F Hellcat warplanes to defend the USS IOWA from attack by Japanese Zeros. There will be 15 stations to defend from.

The USS IOWA is the only ship in her class to serve in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans during World War II. She served through the Korean War and Cold War and was decommissioned in 1990. She’s known as the Battleship of Presidents because her many notable visitors include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.  The ship was officially donated by the U.S. Navy to the Pacific Battleship Center on September 6, 2011, and will open as an interactive naval museum in the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro in July.

“The USS Iowa is such an important piece of U.S. Naval history and we’re extremely proud to be able to sponsor it,” said Jeremy Monroe, General Manager, Wargaming America. “One of our core tenets as a battle-focused gaming company is military history and preservation, so it means a lot to us to be able to provide a virtual view of the USS IOWA in its past glory for its many upcoming visitors.”

The USS IOWA departed from Terminal 3 at the Port of Richmond on Sunday, May 26th, and passed under the Golden Gate Bridge for the last time. This marked the beginning of a four-day tow to the Port of Los Angeles, where the battleship underwent routine hull cleaning offshore before moving to the Outer Harbor. On June 9, the historic ship traveled down the main channel to its permanent home at Berth 87 in the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Calif. There, the ship will host a reunion of USS IOWA veterans July 2nd through the 6th, and then celebrate its public grand opening on July 7th.      

Wargaming America, the North American publisher and service center of the award-winning global videogame developer and publisher, is committed to working with U.S. causes and organizations that preserve and educate on military history. In addition to its partnership with the USS IOWA, the company has worked with the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation in Portola, Calif., and The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, La., on military history and education initiatives.

About Pacific Battleship Center and USS IOWA

The Pacific Battleship Center, a nonprofit organization established in 2009, has been awarded ownership of the USS IOWA by the U.S. Navy for display as an interactive naval museum at Port of Los Angeles Berth 87. The IOWA, which served in World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War, is 14 stories high, 887 feet long and weighs more than 45,000 tons. The museum, opening to the public on July 7, 2012, highlights the contributions of this battleship and its crew at critical moments in American history. 

About® is an award-winning online game developer and publisher and one of the leaders in the free-to-play MMO market. Focused on creating free-to-play, global, team-based battles, the company is creating a wargaming universe its flagship armored World of Tanks, the flight combat World of Warplanes (one of the most anticipated MMOs for 2012), and the naval World of Battleships scheduled for release in 2013. For more information, please visit:

Full Story  | Posted in USS Iowa

USS IOWA tour opening on NBC Bay Area

Take a look at this great article!

Historic Battleship Welcomes the Public

Visitors can walk the bow of the USS Iowa on weekend tours before the ship is moved to LA.
By Joe Rosato Jr.

Dave Way sees them all day long. Dozens of people pressing their faces against the chain link fence– straining to see one of the world’s last battleships. Since arriving at the docks of Richmond five weeks ago, the USS Iowa Battleship has generated plenty of curiosity. Way certainly understands the draw. “They’re considered by many people to be the finest warship ever developed,” said Way, Tour Director for the Pacific Battleship Group. After two decades languishing in the Suisun Bay Mothball Fleet, the Navy awarded the historic ship to the Los Angeles-based group. The Iowa is undergoing restoration in Richmond before it’s towed to its new home in the Port of Los Angeles, where it will become a museum.

Full Story  | Posted in USS Iowa

Tour USS IOWA while in Richmond!

We will be open for weekend shipboard tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning this Saturday.

The Battleship Expo at the Port of Richmond includes a visit onboard USS IOWA and access to exhibits that include a short film on the battleship, 16” shells, a Sheridan tank & half-track displayed by the Military Vehicle Foundation, the Blue Angels F-4 Phantom flight simulator from Pacific Coast Air Museum, and numerous other exhibits. The Battleship Expo entrance donation is $10 per adult, $5 per child 12 years or older, and children 11 & under are free. All proceeds are going to help bring the famed battleship back to life!

Currently the forward portion of the main deck with a view of turrets 1 & 2 is open to guests. As work is completed, additional exhibits and areas on the battleship may be open to the public for visitation. It is encouraged to return to see the progress.

Reservations are not required. USS IOWA is located at Terminal 3, 1411 Harbour Way, Richmond CA. The Battleship Expo can be accessed via the northeast gate.

Full Story  | Posted in USS Iowa

October 27/28 Towing Event in the USA Today

We also had extensive coverage in the Associated Press, NBC Bay

Area and Los Angeles as well as a host of regional media. You see all the news reports on this Google page! For now, take a look at the USA Today piece. Happy Reading!            USS Iowa begins final mission as museum ABOARD THE USS IOWA – This World War II-era battleship, whose speed, armor and 16-inch guns made its name as "The Big Stick" of the U.S. Navy, began the first leg of its final mission Thursday, departing a mothball mooring in Suisun Bay, Calif., toward a new home as a museum in Los Angeles.

The Iowa, which represents the peak of naval military power in an era from Franklin Roosevelt to George H.W. Bush, was nudged by tugs from its decade-long spot amid the Navy's fleet of retired ships.

In a carefully timed maneuver, the ship towed at a seasonal extreme high tide, the only way short of dredging that would allow the ship to pass beneath three bridges, one of which didn't exist when it was sent to storage in 2001.

The Iowa, the lead ship of its class of the biggest, fastest and most powerful battleships ever to sail, is also the last battleship to find a permanent spot for retirement. Its sister ships are museums: the Missouri, at Pearl Harbor; the Wisconsin, in Norfolk, Va., and the New Jersey, in Camden, N.J. The Navy no longer has battleships in its fleet.

"This is the world's last battleship's final voyage," said Robert Kent, president of the Pacific Battleship Center, after signing papers allowing the group to take custody of the ship from the U.S. government early Thursday, just hours before the scheduled noon departure.

Read the rest of the article here.

Full Story  | Posted in USS Iowa

Port Anchor Weighed!

Port Anchor WeighedWe're getting set for its towing evolution on 10/27 from Suisun Bay to Richmond, Calif., for some much-needed repairs and refurbishment before we bring it to San Pedro in LA. We'll keep you up to date on its progress! Stay tuned!

In the meantime, join our ever growing list of Facebook Fans and follow us on Twitter. If you're not already a Plankowner, consider being one by joining for as little as $25!

Full Story  | Posted in USS Iowa

USS Iowa Veterans Association chooses San Pedro for 2012 Reunion!

From the USS Iowa Veterans Association Newsletter:  


Great News! USS Iowa has been awarded to Pacific Battleship Cen­ter and will become a museum/memorial in Los Angeles Harbor! After a long, long wait the good news has finally been received from the Navy. Our be­loved ship will soon be moved to its new home in San Pedro, CA. Of course it will be quite a while before the ship is actually ready for visiting. The ship will be towed from Suisun Bay in a few weeks and will be taken to dry dock or a location where it can be cleaned and painted. Then it will be moved to its assigned pier space in San Pedro, where final work will be com­pleted before the ship is opened for visiting sometime in 2012. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Robert Kent, President and CEO of Pacific Battleship Cen­ter, and his staff for all the hard work and dedication involved in acquiring the USS Iowa. Our Association will be working closely with Pacific Battleship Cen­ter in the next few months to aid them in every way possible during the establishment of the museum. This issue of the newsletter includes information about Pa­cific Battleship Center and their plans for renovation of the ship and its establishment as a museum. You can also visit the Pacific Battleship Center web site to learn more about the organization that has acquired the USS Iowa. I will try to keep you informed through the newsletter and deck log about the progress of the ship and when it will be available to view/visit. I hope that you are as pleased as I am to hear the news that our ship has finally found a home.

What Happens Next?

Our Museum Coordination Committee and Officers of the Association will be meeting soon with Pacific Battleship Center to determine exactly how we can help and how we will be involved with the establishment of the museum. We have many items of memorabilia and other documents to turn over to the new museum curator. These items are presently being maintained and pre­served by the State Museum in Des Moines, IA. Although we all consider USS Iowa to be “our ship”, we must remember that the ship will actu­ally belong to Pacific Battleship Center and that they will be making all decisions with respect to what things will be done and how they will be done. I am sure that they will value our in­put and expertise on some subjects, but the final decisions all belong to Pacific Battleship Cen­ter. There will be many opportunities for crew members to volunteer their time and energy to help restore USS Iowa and to make her ready for general visiting. Please contact Bill Humien­ny at if you want to help. Bill has been designated as Volunteer Coordina­tor for the Veterans Association of the USS Iowa and he will be communicating directly with Pa­cific Battleship Center to coordinate volunteer work with them.

USS Iowa Reunion 2011

Pat and I have just returned from another won­derful USS Iowa reunion. The Radisson Hotel provided an exciting and entertaining backdrop for our reunion in Charleston, SC, and we were fortunate to have another well attended event which included many first-time attendees. I want to thank all those who made this reunion possible, especially Mike and Shelly Meldrum for scheduling and coordinating the hotel activi­ties and the tours; Paul and Kitty Ogg for tak­ing all the reservations, running the registration room, and coordinating all activities; Ken and Debbie Leff for operating the ship’s store; Mi­chele Gustafson and Bill Humienny for photog­raphy services; Rich McClellan for coordinating and execut­ing the Memorial Services; and Marty and Zienna Palmiere who coordinated the Hospitality Room operation and clean­up. Our guest speaker was Mr. Robert Kent, President and CEO of the Pacific Battleship Center.

USS Iowa Reunion 2012

The reunion location for 2012 will be San Pedro, CA. The exact dates have not yet been determined, but it is hoped that we will be able to schedule our reunion concurrent with the grand opening of the USS Iowa museum. We will be negotiat­ing a contract with the hotel in San Pedro as soon as possible and will advise you of the exact dates, room rates, and hotel information in the next newsletter and on the web site. Begin making plans now to be in San Pedro when the ship comes to life in 2012. See you there!

Other Important Information

1. Please submit your association dues that you will continue to receive your newsletter. Dues should be mailed to Paul Ogg. Dues are $20 per year.

2. Make sure that your mailing address and e-mail addresses are up to date. This information is needed so that we can update our data base and ensure delivery of your news­letter. Contact Paul Ogg to provide updates. E-mail ad­dresses can also be updated on the Association website.

3. Provide your family with written instructions about the final distribution of your USS Iowa memorabilia so that it will end up in the ship’s museum.

4. Plan to attend the 2012 reunion in San Pedro, CA.  

Fair winds and following seas,
Jerry Gneckow


Full Story  | Posted in USS Iowa

Saturday, April 9, rally for the USS IOWA

If the Secretary of the Navy and other naval officials had attended the Saturday, April 9, rally for the USS IOWA to be berthed permanently in San Pedro, they might well have signed the ship over to the Pacific Battleship Center that very day. “Our liberty we prize”

Not only was the weather sunny, crisp and clear, but the breeze snapped and fluttered flags while nearly 200 well-wishers gathered to urge the US Navy to give the IOWA a home at Berth 87.  Before official ceremonies began, visitors sampled delicious pastries and coffee donated by Charles Feder of Rossmoor Pastries in Signal Hill and picked up IOWA-themed t-shirts and caps at the supporters’ enrollment table.



Guests scrutinized enlarged schematic plans of the IOWA’s deck by deck, level by level, room by room layout; admired a 10-foot long working scale model of the “Big Stick;” and checked out dummy samples of IOWA’s ammo, from 20 mm anti-cruise missile shells up to the giant 16 inchers with their six powder bags.

Every 30 seconds IOWA’s crew could launch one of these rounds from each of the ship’s nine big guns.

A model showed the IOWA docked at her hoped-for berth in San Pedro just south of the World Cruise Terminal—a perfect location for her next mission. Many guests had their pictures taken in front of a forty-foot long photograph of the ship.

Wandering among the celebrants, a visitor would see caps from IOWA’s sister vessel, BB-62, the USS New Jersey; Veterans of Foreign War caps; Navy recruiters; teenaged members of the Naval Sea Cadets; and Purple Heart recipients. One San Pedro woman represented her 85 year old father who could not attend the event.

Near the ten-foot model of the IOWA, former Long Beach Navy Shipyard worker Richard Landgraff described the addition of 400-plus tons of armor to the ship when she was outfitted with Tomahawk missiles.  “Each 104 tons of armor increased IOWA’s draft one inch,” Landgraff recalled.  Gerald (Jerry) Webb of Hacienda Heights, who has worked for four years on the Midway in San Diego, “Can’t wait until IOWA comes to San Pedro so I can volunteer to work on her here.”  Model builder Frank DiMeglio offered to create ten-foot hulls for additional IOWA models, as well as model PT boats, and Chris Brewer invited all to a “Model Kit Expo” at Old World Village in Huntington Beach.

Air and Sea Support

Periodically, flybys arranged by Frank Loughridge and Greg Bishop interrupted the socializing, learning, and supporter-sign-ups.  First, two LA Fire Department helicopters whooshed by, landing just to the south.  Then twin F-18 jets zipped overhead.

Soon, three T-34 "mentor" Aircraft from the T-34 Foundation's "Eagle Flight" based out of March AFB entertained the crowd with a series of formations, including a “Split Maneuver” to close.

Finally, an L.A. harbor Fire Boat said to be the most powerful in the world sprayed four gigantic streams of water as she gracefully pirouetted in the harbor channel and let out an earsplitting peal of her horn to signal the start of the day’s official ceremonies.



Gifts, memories, and encouragement

To begin the ceremonies, Camilla Townsend, President and CEO of San Pedro’s Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the crowd.  She “strongly supported” bringing this “wonderful new asset to our city” and is “really excited” about the prospect.  She introduced Bill Orton (representing State Senator Rod Wright), Jennifer Zivkovic (representing State Senator Ted Lieu), Bryan Moss (who first alerted PBC head Robert Kent to apply for giving IOWA a Southern California berthing), and Jimmy Bopp, who had lost his brother Peter in the 1989 disaster in Turret 2.  Then, while a color-guard of Naval Sea Cadets from Moreno Valley High School presented the colors, Cadet Jessica Boyd led an ardent Pledge of Allegiance.

Smiling broadly, Robert Kent, President of the Pacific Battleship Center, thanked everyone for attending and updated the crowd on the progress of obtaining the IOWA for San Pedro.  “We are participating in the fastest donation of a ship in the history of the Navy,” he noted. Among other awards of thanks, Kent presented Bryan Moss, who had boarded the IOWA from San Pedro in 1952 on his way to fight in the Korean War, with a plaque and a flag that had recently flown over the IOWA.

Kent also thanked  LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, LA Mayor Villagairosa, the Port of Los Angeles, four former Governors of Iowa, and State Assembly Members Warren Furutani and Bonnie Lowenthal for their “fantastic” support “working as a team” to bring the IOWA to San Pedro.  “Your support has been monumental,” Kent stated. “I want to thank all of you.”

Assemblyman Furutani commented on the day’s “impressive audience” and invited the nearly-50 veterans in the crowd to stand and be recognized, and then he encouraged them to volunteer as docents aboard the IOWA when she opens to the public sometime in 2012.  Thanks to a “great community effort, the IOWA will be a landmark, not just for San Pedro but for Southern California, ALL of California, and the West Coast,” Furutani enthused.  The ship and its accompanying educational museum will be “a stimulus for the whole area,” he believes. 

Assemblywoman Lowenthal, and Assemblyman Furutani are co-authoring Assembly Joint Resolution 8 to encourage “the United States Navy to approve the application submitted by the Pacific Battleship Center to house the USS IOWA at the Port of Los Angeles.” State Senators Ted Lieu and Alan Lowenthal are sponsoring the resolution in the California Senate.

Noting the “amazing” support from all aspects of the community to bring the “world’s greatest naval ship” to “Peedro,” as locals call San Pedro, Assemblywoman Lowenthal  feels “lucky and proud” that the IOWA will be the flagship of Los Angeles’s harbor attractions, providing a “critical mass” to engender economic growth for the destination. “The IOWA,” she declared, will be “a testament to the Greatest Generation, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of our shoreline.  I look forward to the day when I walk up the gangplank of the USS IOWA and ask permission to come aboard.”

Equally enthusiastic, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn termed bringing the IOWA to San Pedro a “terrific idea, a terrific project.”  When she grasped the vision of PBC President Robert Kent, Hahn said, “I knew this is what we’ve been looking for, waiting for.”  Looking out at the veterans in the crowd, Hahn affirmed that the IOWA in Berth 87 will be a “tribute to the Vets.  What you believe in is what we all share.”  Keeping IOWA in San Pedro will be “our way of saying thanks to you.”  She remarked that the story of the tragic death of Jimmy  Bopp’s brother Peter had “left the LA City Council in tears.”

Concluding with his personal history of connection with fishing and shipyard work, San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board Anthony Pirozzi reminded the crowd of San Pedro’s history as a ship-building and repairing port.  For him, bringing the IOWA to San Pedro will symbolize “our commitment to the military and the Vets.”  As he noted, “Our military is at the pointy end of the spear.”

“The IOWA has become my passion.”

As the crowd dispersed,” a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress joined the festivities. Crowd-member Gary Hull commented contentedly that he had had an “exciting day.”  Perhaps Councilwoman Hahn’s final comments were echoing in his ears:  “The IOWA has become my passion, my excitement,” she said. “I haven’t worked on a project like this one my whole life.  It is an honor to be a champion for this project.” Berth 87 at San Pedro, Los Angeles Harbor: Over 900 feet of space waiting to become the "Big Stick's" new home. Photo by Greg Bishop

Full Story  | Posted in USS Iowa



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