Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Anchors Away: The Iowa's New Mission Begins

A New Mission
Anchors Away

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Tomorrow at 1200 hours the lead ship of the great Iowa class battleships USS Iowa BB-61, will be gently eased from the anchorage she has occupied for the past ten years and moved to Pier 3 in Richmond, CA were she will undergo refirbishment to make ready for one final sea passage to her new duty station, at pier 87 in community of San Pedro, in the Port of Los Angeles. The following is the offical press release.
 USS IOWA to be towed to Richmond, Calif., beginning on Thursday
- Non-profit begins process to bring famed battleship back to life, transform vessel to interactive museum based in Los Angeles -
Los Angeles – October 25, 2011 – Pacific Battleship Center, the organization that is bringing the USS IOWA back to life, will begin towing the famed battleship from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet to Richmond, Calif., on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
In doing so, the non-profit group begins the months-long process to transform the vessel into an interactive experience permanently based at Berth 87 in Los Angeles. 
“This marks a significant milestone in our dedication to create the world's last available battleship for educational, historical and recreational benefits to those who visit her,” said Robert Kent, President of Pacific Battleship Center. “Our goal is to have the USS IOWA open for visitation by July 4, 2012. There is a great deal of work that needs to be performed starting with this towing evolution. We are excited to be launching into this next phase of restoring what is a true American treasure!”
The two-day event will start at approximately Noon on Thursday where USS IOWA will be towed from Suisun Bay to the Benicia Car Dock. The ship will remain there until 9 a.m. the following morning and make its way to Richmond Pier 3 on Friday. USS IOWA will stay in Richmond for approximately three months to complete refurbishment work before making the tow to Los Angeles.
Media is invited to cover the event at the various locations where the ship will pass along the entire transit. Interviews are available by phone and in person (if feasible) upon request.
In September, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the United States Navy donated the USS IOWA to the Pacific Battleship Center. The decision was possible under the Navy’s ship donation program and reflects the culmination of years of work by many dedicated volunteers. The USS IOWA is the only battleship of its class that has not been saved and turned into a permanent museum and was the last battleship available for donation.
“To meet our timeline for opening the ship to visitors, we -raised more than $10 million in donations and loans,” said Jonathan Williams, Vice President of Pacific Battleship Center. “We’ve been privileged to receive generous support from so many organizations to make this happen, including the State of Iowa, Torrey Pines Bank, the USS IOWA Veteran’s Association, and civic and business leaders. However, while ten million is the minimum amount needed more funds will allow even more development of the IOWA. We need others to get involved, including the general public and have launched a membership drive to entice those to join this worthwhile cause. We are excited about the initial response and support weare getting for this call out and anticipate keeping the momentum going!”
Interested people can follow the progress of bringing USS IOWA back to life on the organization’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages. Individuals can also sign up to become “plankowners” at Pacific Battleship Center
###© 2011 Pacific Battleship Center. All rights reserved.

Anyone who has followed this blog for the past year has been aware of my interest and support of this organization that is truly motivated by the spirit of volunteerism by scores of people who answered the call from Robert Kent, and the other dedicated people who formed the cadre of this organization and were able to raise millions of dollars, and encourage others, who to date have pledged over 85,000 hours to get her ready to open on July 4, 2012. I would encourage anyone living within driving range of San Pedro, and who wants to be a part of something worthwhile that will live on in time and stand as a living memorial to the history that the ship represents; to become a vollunteer by clicking on the pledge form. I know that my wife is already prepared to see me trudging out the door every weekend beginning in January, as I join the hundreds of others who have pledged to step up and make the "Big Stick" into the best living history museum and education center in the United States.

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