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USS Iowa History - World War II

1940 | 1942 | 1943 | 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949

1940

June 27 - Keel laid down at New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York.

USS Iowa keel being layed down

1942

USS Iowa Launch at New York Naval Yard August 27 - Launched at New York Naval Yard. Sponsored by Mrs. Henry A. Wallace, wife of the Vice President.  Her sleek lines and raked bow fortells her high speed.

 
1943

February 22 - Commissioned (On Washington's Birthday) Commanding Officer Captain John L. McCrea USN.

February 24 - To Sea for shakedown in Chesapeake Bay and along Atlantic Coast.

July 9 - USS IOWA completed her post shakedown overhaul.

August 27 - En Route to Newfoundland and the North Atlantic for her first war patrol.  Assignment, the "Tirpitz Watch", the German battleship, thereby contributing to the neutralization of the threat presented by that warship then poised in Norwegian waters.

October 25 - To Norfolk Navy Yard for two weeks of maintenance in preparation for taking President Roosevelt to North Africa for Tehran Conference.

November 12 - En route to Mediterranean with FDR and other high-ranking members of American delegation to Mers-el-Kebir, Algeria and then Tehran. The Tehran Conference was with Stalin and Churchill.

FDR, Stalin and Churchill at Tehran Conference

December 16 - Completion of mission with return of FDR to United States.

1944

January 2 - En Route to Pacific as Flagship of Battleship Division 7, in company with USS NEW JERSEY. The USS IOWA became a charter member of the famous Pacific Fleet Task Force 58.

January 7 - Transit Panama Canal.

January 23 - First Pacific campaign in support of carrier air strikes against Kwajalein and Eniwetok Atolls.

February 16 - First firing of weapons in combat in attack on Japanese naval base at Truk in Caroline Islands.  In action off Truk, the USS IOWA sank light cruiser Katori.

March 18 - First shore bombardment against Mili Atoll in Marshall Islands. The USS IOWA received her first hit when she was struck by two Japanese projectiles (5 inch and 6 inch).  The 6 inch projectile hit Turret 2 and the 5 inch projectile hit the hull plating, neither of which caused significant damage.

March 30 - In support of Task group 58, air strikes against Palau and Woleai islands, followed by further strikes against Hollandia, Aitape and Wake Islands.

April 22 - Supporting Army landing at Aitape, Tanahmerah and Humbolt Bays.

May 1 - Bombardment of airfield, bombs wharf and other enemy facilities at Ponape.

June 13 - Shelled Saipan and Tinian and blew up an ammunition dump.

June 19 - In action throughout battle of the Philippine Sea.  Downed at least three attacking planes.

Mass held on deck of USS Iowa circa 1944

August - Commanding Officer Captain Allan R. McCann USN.

September - A unit of Fleet Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey's third Fleet in support of carrier strikes against Philippine and Caroline Islands.

October 10 - Participating in air strikes against Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and Luzon.

October 23 - Headed for Battle of Leyte Gulf.

November - Commanding Officer Captain James L. Holloway Jr., USN.

November 25 - Kamikaze attack on Third Fleet. USS IOWA claimed two Jills and a Judy.

USS Iowa Circa 1944

December 17 - At Ulithi for replenishment and maintenance in drydock ABSD-2.  Lost plane - washed over the side during typhoon.

As one crew member recounts, "It was a very scary night, the Iowa rolled to about a 45 degree angle at one point and we all held our breaths that it wouldn't happen again. As our luck went, it happened at meal time so you can imagine the condition of the deck in the mess hall."

There were 24 ships damaged, plus the destroyers Monoghan, Hull, and Spence which were sunk with a loss of 765 sailors. Damage to shaft caused by storm required USS IOWA to return to the United States for overhaul at Hunters Point Shipyard, San Francisco in the following month.

USS Iowa Drydock ABSD-2 USS Iowa Drydock ABSD-2

1945

January 15 - In drydock until March 19, 1945. This was the first major overhaul since leaving the East Coast. Bridge area was enclosed. New search and fire control radar installed.

April 15 - Arrives off Okinawa to relieve USS NEW JERSEY.

May 25 -Supported air strikes against Kyushu.

July 1 - En route to Northern Honshu and Hokkaido.

July - Commanding Officer Captain Charles Wellborn Jr. USN

July 15 - USS IOWA, USS MISSOURI and USS WISCONSIN attacked Muroran on Hokkaido inflicting significant damage on Nihon Steel Company and Wanishi Ironworks.

July 17 - The three battleships bombard industrial city of Hitachi Miro. During this action, USS IOWA served as flagship for Rear Admiral Oscar Badger.

With USS MissouriJuly 29-30 - Bombarded island of Kahoolawe.

August 27 - In company with USS MISSOURI, USS IOWA put into Sagami Bay to effect the surrender of Yokosuka naval district.

August 29 - USS IOWA and USS MISSOURI entered Tokyo Bay in support of landing of occupation forces to take place next day.

August 30 -  Sailors from the USS Iowa, Underwater Demolition Team 18, and the high-speed transport USS Horace A. Bass secured the Japanese battleship Nagato.  Captain Cornelius Flynn, executive officer of the Iowa, assumed command.

September 20 - Underway for the United States.

October 15 - Arrived in Seattle, Washington and from there went on to Long Beach where she engaged in training operations along the West Coast. 

November - Commanding Officer Captain Frederick I. Entwistle USN

December 16 - In Morrell Drydock at Terminal Island Shipyard, Los Angeles, California.

1946

January 27 - Arrived in Tokyo Bay to serve as flagship of Fifth Fleet until March.

March 25 - Returned to Long Beach to operate along West Coast conducting drills, maneuvers and Naval Reserve and midshipmen training cruises.

July - Commanding Officer Captain Raymond D. Tarbuck USN

October - USS IOWA again overhauled. This time it was at Puget Sound Navy Yard. She received SK-2 radar and had many 20mm and 40mm mounts removed. Then was painted haze gray on all vertical surfaces.

1947

April - Commanding Officer Captain Thomas M. Stokes, USN

1948

March - Commanding Officer Captain Edward A. Solomons, USN

August - Commanding Officer Captain William F. Jennings, USN

September - Inactivation begun at San Francisco.

1949

January - Commanding Officer Captain Bennett M. Dodson, USN

March 24 - Placed out of commission in reserve.

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