William Casady carries a photo of his days as a chief petty officer.
"I was transferred to the USS Iowa in February of 1943," he said. "It's nice to be back, it sure is."
The 94-year-old was among the first to serve on what was then a state-of-the-art warship.
Casady, who traveled from Virginia, was among the 600 former sailors who gathered in San Pedro to celebrate a new chapter for the retired battleship, which has been converted into a floating museum at the Port of Los Angeles.
The Iowa served in the Pacific fleet during World War II. It was among the first U.S. ships to enter Tokyo Bay after Japan's surrender. It was decommissioned for good in 1990 and sat in mothballs until it's arrival in San Pedro last month.
The USS Iowa becomes the only battleship museum on the West Coast. Wednesday was about the sailors who served aboard the ship. James Flaherty served aboard the Iowa during the Korean War. The North Dakota resident brought his family to the ceremony.
"It's important that my children and grandchildren see what I did. It's what you hand down to them and inspire them to do," Flaherty said.
Former crew members from all over the country attended the event, and some of them hadn't been aboard the ship in decades.
The public will be able to go aboard and explore the Iowa starting on Saturday. A general admission ticket is $18. Retired members of the military and seniors will get in for $15, and youths ages 6-17 will get in for $10.