Representatives of the California group seeking to save the U.S.S. Iowa battleship were recently at the state capitol building in Des Moines to try and gain attention and more funding for the effort. Marilyn Wong is a spokesperson for the Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square on Mare Island where the Iowa is docked.
She says it’s right outside of San Francisco and is within 10 miles of the internally acclaimed Napa-Sanoma wine country. Wong says the volunteer group has already raised four million dollars which went toward the initial steps in securing the ship. Wong says it has mostly been a California effort and they were successful in moving the ship from Rhode Island to its California.
She says the move will assure the ship’s financial future as a museum and a memorial. Wong says the money also included the work for the formal application to the nave to acquire the ship. The group needs to raise a total of 18-million dollars and needs to show it has raised a significant amount of that money to get the government to sign off on the project. Wong says they would like to get the state to chip in money too, but she admits the economy makes it tough.
Wong says it’s “a terrible time, a most challenging time’ in the evolution of their project, but she says the ship can’t wait and it won’t wait. Wong says the alternatives to making the Iowa a museum are to see the historic battleship go away. She says the ship would be scrapped or sunk in target practice and to the group they are not options.
The U.S.S. Iowa was the namesake for a new class of battleships and was launched in 1942. The ship carried President Franklin Roosevelt to Tehran for meeting of international leaders during the war in 1943. For more information on the fundraising effort, go to www.battleshipiowa.org. Wong says her group plans to visit Iowa frequently to continue seeking donations to help save the ship.