Battleship opens for tours in Los Angeles

July 7, 2012 at 10:57 AM
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LOS ANGELES, July 7 (UPI) -- It's all hands on deck Saturday as the battleship USS Iowa begins its new life as a floating museum in Los Angeles.

The World War II-era battlewagon was taken out of mothballs and towed to its new permanent home in the port in San Pedro, where large crowds of tourists are expected to explore the many gun turrets and the cramped passageways below decks.

"Well, the one thing you pick up on walking around the ship is creature comforts are secondary," museum curator Danny Way told National Public Radio during one such tour. "Everything is built around delivering the ordnance to the target."

The Iowa delivered its ordnance, including massive shells from its 16-inch main guns, during World War II and the Korean War. It was decommissioned for a final time in 1990.

During its service, the Iowa carried President Franklin Roosevelt to the 1943 Tehran Conference with Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The ship also hosted Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

The Orange County Register said the Iowa will host tours daily -- except on Christmas and Thanksgiving -- at its berth near the World Cruise terminal on South Harbor Drive in the San Pedro section of Los Angeles.

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