The Pacific Battleship Center is honored and privileged to be entrusted by the United States Navy to bring USS IOWA (BB-61) back to life! Our mission is simple: Honor the world’s best and last available battleship and those who served aboard her for the educational benefits of those who visit it.
USS IOWA (BB 61) springs from a distinguished line of namesakes. The first IOWA, a 3,200-ton gunboat, dates back to 1864. The second, an 11,000 tonner, fired the first shot at Santiago Bay in the Spanish-American War and took the Spanish Admiral prisoner. Construction of the third IOWA was canceled under the terms of the Washington Treaty. The present IOWA was conceived as the first of the 45,000-ton class of battleships on the drawing boards of the nation’s marine and naval architects in the late 1930s.
The famed battleship, USS IOWA, was ordered on July 1, 1939, commissioned on Feb. 22, 1943, and served our country for almost 50 years. She was designated the “World’s Greatest Naval Ship” because of her big guns, heavy armor, fast speed, longevity and modernization flexibility, which allowed her to keep pace with technology.
The Battleship of Presidents
USS IOWA also was re-commissioned in 1984 by Vice President George H.W. Bush who would later be the USS IOWA’s Commander in Chief from 1989 until she was decommissioned in 1990. In addition, the USS IOWA was the flagship for President Ronald Reagan for our nation’s Celebration of Liberty in New York City on July 4, 1986.