Battleship IOWA departs Suisun Bay

The big news in naval history last week was the formal transfer of the battleship Iowa (BB-61) to the Pacific Battleship Center, and her subsequent departure from the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, CA. Iowa‘s transfer to a private organization closes the book on the battleship era. Nicknamed “the Big Stick,” Iowa is the last remaining U.S. battleship to find a home as a museum ship. The Pacific Battleship Center is working hard to prepare a permanent home for this historic ship at the Port of Los Angeles. Iowa will get a fresh coat of paint and some much need cleaning in Richmond, CA, prior to her final tow to Los Angeles early next year.

One of our colleagues, Bob Fish from the USS HORNET Museum, observed Iowa‘s two-day journey from Suisun Bay to Richmond from a fishing boat. He shared a series of photographs with us, and we’d like to share them with you. They give a good sense of the sequence of events that took place during this successful move.

We’ve also uploaded a photo essay with some spectacular images from USS Iowa‘s many years of service on our Facebook page, please head on over there to check them out. And be sure to watch this time lapse video of Iowa on the move on the USA Today website.

Update (7 Nov 2011): Bob Fish, who shared these great photos with us, has also penned a short article about Iowa‘s history. Please take a moment to read it: USS Iowa – Farewell Salute to “The Big Stick.”

Tugboats pull the battleship IOWA free from the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, CA. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

Tugboats pull the battleship IOWA free from the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, CA. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

 

Battleship IOWA approaches the Benicia-Martinez bridges over the Carquinez Straits. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

Battleship IOWA approaches the Benicia-Martinez bridges over the Carquinez Straits. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

 

Iowa going between the three bridges stern first (I-680 southbound auto traffic far left, Union Pacific Railroad on the immediate left, I-680 northbound auto traffic on the right) (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

IOWA going between the three bridges stern first (I-680 southbound auto traffic far left, Union Pacific Railroad on the immediate left, I-680 northbound auto traffic on the right) (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

 

Tugs maneuver IOWA through a 180 degree turn to get her bow pointed first for the next day's journey down the straits into SF bay. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

Tugs maneuver IOWA through a 180 degree turn to get her bow pointed first for the next day's journey down the straits into SF bay. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

 

IOWA at the Benicia auto pier, where she spent Thursday night. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

IOWA at the Benicia auto pier, where she spent Thursday night. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

 

IOWA exiting the Carquinez Straits into SF bay on Friday. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

IOWA exiting the Carquinez Straits into SF bay on Friday. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

 

IOWA peeking out from under the Richmond-San Rafael bridge on SF bay. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

IOWA peeking out from under the Richmond-San Rafael bridge on SF bay. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

 

Silhouette of IOWA as she enters the Richmond inner harbor channel. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

Silhouette of IOWA as she enters the Richmond inner harbor channel. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

 

IOWA moored at pier 3 in Richmond where she will be painted and cleaned. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

IOWA moored at pier 3 in Richmond where she will be painted and cleaned. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Fish, USS HORNET Museum)

 

This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Battleship IOWA departs Suisun Bay

  1. Bob Chipley says:

    These pictures are awesome. I’ll pass on to all my contacts.

    Thanks

  2. Captain Mark L. Shafer, USN (Ret.) says:

    Bob,
    I heard you name before. Thank you for all that you do. I am a volunteer on the JEREMIAH O’BRIEN. Aloha, Mark

  3. How marvelous to be able to see and better understand one of these impressive ships and the history they embody. Thank you for these photos. It’s wonderful that the Iowa will find a new home and be preserved.

  4. charlie white says:

    Really great photos of a “pretty lady”

  5. Del Mitchell says:

    As an old aviator accustomed to seeing aircraft carriers and aircraft, it’s refreshing to see the beautiful silhoutte of a battleship grace the skyline and bay of San Francisco once again. The Iowa Class battleships were beautifully designed back in the 1940′s, and that design is still magnificient today, and very pleasing to the eye. Great photos, and, now I hope the Iowa will have a permanent home in Los Angeles where it can be visited and respected by all.

  6. Ray Cosyn says:

    There is nothing more beautiful than an Iowa class battleship. I only wish she were staying in the bay area where I could do come volunteer work and have more of an opportunity to marvel at her graceful lines.

  7. Erik Halvorseth says:

    Almost coincidential I learned here on navyhistory that BB-61 as the last of the
    Iowa-class and henceforth the last of the world’s large artilleryships is finally taken
    out of USN reserve and decomissioned for good.

    USS Iowa brings back great memories.
    In the summer of ’85 I had the pleasure of seeing her moored at the honorary south quay just below the old cannons of Akershus festning , a fortress protecting Oslo, Norway in the medieval ages.
    A most suitable place for her during beautiful sommer days I would say, and not since the visitation of HMS Hood of the Royal Navy almost 50 years before that has a more striking large naval vessel visited our capital.
    She looked more shipshape back in those days, no rust on her hull,
    the marine guarding the gangway appearing razor sharp in his
    drill uniform..
    Not long after that I had as a private in the Royal Norwegian Army the pleasure
    of saluting one of Iowa’s then former commanders,
    Vice-Admiral(Ret) Mustin of the USN.
    Breaking the ice I still remember his broad grin, explaining to a slightly nervous
    19 year old private some of the subtleties of this fine fighting vessel…

    Big Stick has made both her country and her allied partners proud and I am sure
    it is not just old hands who has served onboard her who will miss her fine lines..

    Erik Halvorseth
    Oslo, Norway

  8. Pingback: Battleship IOWA Repair Work Underway | Naval Historical Foundation

  9. Victor Veturis says:

    Bob thank you for sharing your experience with this great ship. We went aboard the Mighty Mo a few months ago after she came our of the yard with a fresh coat of paint…..what a treasure….

    We can’t wait to see the Iowa come into San Pedro….hopefully we can return the favor and share some of the pictures from SoCal.

    My dad is a battleship sailor and we can’t wait to take him on board the Iowa!

    Thank you again for sharing….I cannot begin to tell you how much this means to our Navy family….

    Semper Fi my friend

  10. Pingback: Battleship Iowa Departs for Los Angeles | Naval Historical Foundation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>