In four days May 20, 2012, a trio of tug boats will begin to ease the USS Iowa away from the pier in Richmond, CA where she has undergone an extensive re-refurbishment that resembled her past preparations for a deployment. However, in this case, instead of off to war, she is being prepared to sail one more time as she is moved south to be anchored off the Port of Los Angeles and given a final touch up before being the main event in a grand entrance down the main channel to berth 87 in San Pedro, former home of the US Navy's Battle Fleet from 1919-1940. This great undertaking is led by the Pacific Battleship Center headed by Robert Kent, and a devoted staff, along with hundreds of volunteers who have been working long hours in Richmond, as well as many hundreds more waiting in Southern California, who are anxious to climb aboard and help get her sparkling, and ready to become what is destined to be the finest living ship museum, and education center in the world.
I have watched the progress as the ship left Suisun Bay last October and was moved to pier 3 in Richmond, and as each week passed, followed the updates posted by many of those volunteers on the Facebook page for Pacific Battleship. This weekend will mark a new chapter for the Iowa and a chance to taste the tang of the open seas as she passes the near littorals and moves south to her new home. A web page has been set up to track her progress as she is towed by Crowley tug Warrior and her cohorts. Soon, I will be taking my turn in preparing her for July 7th, when her gangway will welcome thousands who have a hankering to experience the aura of this grand ship and learn of her sailors and missions that spanned over half a century.
This week also is the final opportunity to become a plank owner, so anyone who wants to both pitch in or lend a hand, visit the link below.