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Battleship USS Iowa could retire to LA harbor

November 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The battleship USS Iowa may find its permanent home in Southern California. A group called the Pacific Battleship Center wants the 900-foot long battleship to be retired to the San Pedro pier 87.The USS Iowa will be taken out of commission after 50 years of service in four war zones. Only four of these massive battleships were built. The Iowa is the only one that could be scrapped if it doesn't find a home.

Ernie Thompson served on the battleship Missouri and hopes the ship will come to rest in San Pedro. "She was a sister ship and we have a place for the other three. The generations are still here and I think it would pay off great to have the Iowa here," he said.

The Los Angeles Port Commission was filled with people who feel the same way. They're trying to convince the commissioners to dock the Iowa in San Pedro. A decision is expected in two weeks.

In 1989 there was an explosion in one of the Iowa's gun turrets. Forty-seven sailors were killed, including the 18-year-old brother of James Bopp.

"To the ship mates it's like it happened yesterday and they just want to see her preserved and a place they can go. I know I want to see a place where I can go," said Bopp.

The ship that once hosted President Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill could also host several hundred tourists a year.

"There is absolutely no cost to taxpayers of Los Angeles to bring the USS Iowa to San Pedro, no ongoing cost, no maintenance cost. The Pacific Battleship Center has already pledged to do that," said Los Angeles City Council member Janice Hahn.

If all goes as planned, the battleship Iowa will be in the harbor next year and ready for open house on July 4, 2012.


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