Built in 1940, the USS IOWA served our country for over 50 years. Designated the “World’s Greatest Naval Ship” due to her big guns, heavy armor, fast speed, longevity and modernization, she kept pace with technology for more than 50 years.
During her more than 50 years in service, IOWA has welcomed and escorted our nation’s Commander-in-Chief on many occasions. No other battleship in our nation’s history has been host to more U.S. Presidents than the IOWA.
On 12 November 1943, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt boarded the USS Iowa from the Presidential yacht USS Potomac at the mouth of the Potomac River. The President’s party included Presidential Advisor Harry Hopkins and the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a secret meeting with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at the Tehran Conference.
“Perhaps, indeed, these vessels embody our conception of liberty itself: to have before one no impediments, only open spaces; to chart one’s own course and take the adventure of life as it comes; to be free as the wind – as free as the tall ships themselves. It’s fitting, then, that this procession should take place in honor of Lady Liberty.”
“We join today in mourning for the 47 who perished and in thanks for the 11 who survived. They all were, in the words of a poet, the men behind the guns. They came from Hidalgo, Texas; Cleveland, Ohio; Tampa, Florida; Costa Mesa, California. They came to the Navy as strangers, served the Navy as shipmates and friends, and left the Navy as brothers in eternity. In the finest Navy tradition, they served proudly on a great battleship, U.S.S. Iowa.
And your men are under a different command now, one that knows no rank, only love, knows no danger, only peace. May God bless them all.”