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'Mothball fleet' battleship becoming naval museum in SoCal

USS Iowa Move

Ben Margot/AP

The battleship USS Iowa is pushed stern first by tugboats on Suisun Bay Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, in Benicia, Calif. After resting in the Suisun Bay Reserve "mothball fleet" for a decade, the famous battleship is taking the first leg of its journey to southern California, where the Pacific Battleship Center intends to transform the vessel into an interactive museum permanently based at Berth 87 in Los Angeles. The Iowa will be towed to Richmond, Calif., on Friday for significant refurbishment until at least the end of the year and possibly through the first part of 2012 before the move south.

The U.S.S. Iowa was last actively engaged in conflict in the late 1980s, helping escort reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz during the Iran-Iraq war.

Some 25 years later, following years of being mothballed, the 887-foot long ship that once carried President Franklin Roosevelt to a World War II summit is coming to life once again as it is being prepared for what is likely its final voyage.

At the Port of Richmond, the 58,000-ton battlewagon is undergoing a $4 million restoration before being towed May 20 through the Golden Gate, then several hundred miles south to the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. There it is to be transformed into an interactive naval museum.



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