1121-USS Iowa – San Pedro, CA

The USS Iowa is an historic battleship now berthed in San Pedro Harbor a few miles from downtown Los Angeles. I saw an article on interesting places to visit in the Los Angeles area and took a shot. The ship had previously been slated for demolition and thus much of the cool military equipment had been removed. I happened to tag along with a small group led by a member of the ship’s board of directors. I was able to get some of the private skinny on the current state of the ship and future expansion.

I was a little disappointed with the tour. I wanted to see inside the big guns, check out the engine room, and go deep into the bowels of the ship, but none of that was available. It was all about funding, EPA regulations, and public safety I overheard from the private tour. Screw public safety. I wanted an adventure. I would have worn a hard hat and breather mask for a chance to explore deep inside the ship. On the brochure it lists these activities as future tour expansions (not the hard hat and breather mask thing), but a sanitized public tour. Screw that. I want to get dirty.

So I took what photos I could, and snatched a few from the web along with some video. Check out the training video on how to load and operated the big 16” guns. If you want more info on the USS Iowa, there is an extensive article on Wikipedia – click here.

Here are a few facts on the USS Iowa:

• Built in 1940, the USS Iowa served in WWII, the Korean War, and the Cold War.

  • Original cost was $110 million. In today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation, would be over $1.8 billion.
  • Iowa was constructed with 1,350,000 rivets, 800 miles of welding, 900 motors, 5,300 lighting fixtures, 250 miles of electric cables, and 1,090 telephones.
  • Iowa has the record for firing the longest ranged 16-inch projectile at 26.9 miles in 1989.
  • When fired, the 16-inch guns recoil 47 inches and contrary to popular belief, the ship does not move sideways.
  • Iowa Class battleships were the fastest class battleships constructed with a top speed of 40 mph.

[googlemap width=”620″ height=”480″ src=”https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=33.742095,-118.277028&spn=0.005692,0.008358&t=h&z=17 “]

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(footage stolen from the web)

DSCN3354Standing on the dock.

DSCN3361Four 16″ guns.

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Check out this training video on the operation of the big guns.
(footage stolen from the web)

DSCN3366These are the shells.

DSCN3367This is a shell with six bags of gunpowder.

DSCN3369Captain’s quarters.

DSCN3371The endless door hall.

DSCN3376Behind the armored battle bridge. Need more wiring?

DSCN3380Inside the armored battle bridge.

DSCN3381Door to the armored battle bridge. Solid steel.

DSCN3382From the main bridge.

DSCN3383Main bridge.

DSCN3385Phalanx close-on weapon. Nicknamed R2-D2 from Star Wars and can deliver 3,000 amor piercing tungsten penetrator rounds per minute at an anti-ship missile.

DSCN3387Short-range mortar to deliver chaff or infrared decoys to confuse attacking missiles.

DSCN33895-inch 38 caliber gun.

DSCN3393Harpoon cruise missile launchers. Launches this bad boy below.

DSCN3406Harpoon missiles.

DSCN3395Fire control system for the big guns. These were the range finders and spotters for the 16″ guns.

DSCN3398Crew’s quarters.



DSCN3407Rifling for the 16″ guns.


Iowa1Photo stolen from the web.

Iowa2Photo stolen from the web.

Iowa3Photo stolen from the web.

Iowa5Photo stolen from the web.

Iowa6Photo stolen from the web.

Iowa7Photo stolen from the web.