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Battleship Iowa heading to final berth as San Pedro museum

June 9, 2012 | 12:54 pm

Members of the Cabrillo Beach Boosters wave as the USS Iowa entered through Angels Gate into Los Angeles harbor on June 2
Hundreds of invited guests -– including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- are set to board the battleship Iowa to witness the its arrival Saturday afternoon at its permanent home at Berth 87 on the San Pedro waterfront.

The ship has been docked temporarily at Berths 51-52 since arriving from San Francisco. On the final, 3.4 nautical miles of its journey to becoming a floating museum, the Iowa is scheduled to head bow first up the main channel, slide past Berth 87  and go under the Vincent Thomas Bridge before pivoting in the turning basin and heading back to its destination.

The biggest U.S. battleship ever built, the 45,000-ton warship is known as the "battleship of presidents."

In November 1943, the Iowa carried President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to a crucial meeting with Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek in Tehran. The bathtub with rails that was installed for FDR’s use is now on display.

President Reagan boarded the Iowa on July 4, 1986, for Liberty Weekend, the celebration of the restoration and centenary of the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush joined the crew and families of the Iowa at a memorial service for 47 crew members killed in the ship’s greatest tragedy, a gun turret explosion in the Caribbean.

The Pacific Battleship Center plans to recommission the ship July 4 and hold the first public tours three days later. For ticketing information, see the Pacific Battleship Center website.

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-- Martha Groves in San Pedro

Photo: Members of the Cabrillo Beach Boosters wave as the Iowa enters through Angels Gate into Los Angeles harbor on June 2. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times 

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