November 24, 2014

U.S.S. Iowa signed over to nonprofit group

The U.S. Navy today handed over ownership of the U.S.S. Iowa battleship to the California group that’s turning it into a floating museum. AudioDar Danielson report on the U.S.S. Iowa transfer. :60

Vice Admiral Mark Skinner and Robert Kent sign documents handing the U.S.S. Iowa over to the Pacific Battleship Center.

The Navy awarded the Iowa to the Los Angeles-based non-profit Pacific Battleship Center seven months ago.

The organization’s president, Robert Kent, joined Navy Vice Admiral Mark Skinner in Congressman Tom Latham’s office in Washington, D.C. to complete the transfer.

“They showed up with two very nice bound contracts, and he signed one of them and I signed the other one, and then we flipped them, and I signed the other one and it was officially done,” Kent told Radio Iowa. “..the last battleship left in the world now has a permanent home in Los Angeles.”

The battleship has been docked at the Port of Richmond in San Francisco Bay, where the Pacific Battleship Center has been working on its renovation.

Resetting of U.S.S. Iowa mast. (Courtesy Pacific Battleship Center)

 “It’s just amazing the transformation,” Kent says of the restoration effort. “Last Tuesday we actually set the 56,000 pound top of her mast back in place. It was cut off back in 2000 in order to transit under some of the smaller bridges where she went into storage.”

He says things have been moving ahead at “flank speed” with a lot of painting and other work in preparation for moving the ship to its final home.

Kent says,”She’s getting ready to leave Richmond San Francisco Bay on May the 20th. She’ll be looking like she can go back into war, go back into service. Everything will be reactivated on board the ship so she will actually look like she’s getting ready to go back to sea.”

The center will hold a commissioning day for the Iowa on July fourth and it will be open for public tours on July seventh. The State of Iowa donated three-million dollars to U.S.S. Iowa’s preservation.

Signing photo courtesy of Congressman Latham’s office.