Get your flags and cameras ready, folks. The mighty U.S.S. Iowa is now scheduled to leave San Francisco Bay Saturday.
And there will be a flotilla of well-wishers already out on the Bay to greet her: Her departure coincides with the numerous events planned for the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Her departure was , but bad weather and high seas . Perhaps to happy conclusion, since the festivities will be even bigger as the maritime community—and everyone else—comes out in force this holiday weekend for the bridge party. Bring out the fireboats!
"USS IOWA will be departing the Port of Richmond, CA on Saturday, May 26 at 1100. IOWA is expected to be transiting under the Golden Gate Bridge on its 75th anniversary between 1400 and 1500 (2:00pm and 3:00pm). If you will be on a small boat, we encourage you to watch ship and boat traffic closely and please be safe!"
The Iowa is headed to Los Angeles, where it will become a floating museum—the last of its WWII sister ships to be restored and opened to the public—in San Pedro.
The Iowa (BB-61) is the first of four “Iowa Class Battleships” from World War II. It is the last such ship to find a permanent home dedicated to recalling its storied past. The other three are the U.S.S. New Jersey (now in Camden, N.J.), U.S.S. Missouri (at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and historic, for Japan's unconditional surrender was signed on its decks), and U.S.S. Wisconsin (in Norfolk, VA).
In the 1980s, then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein lost a bid to homeport the U.S.S. Missouri in San Francisco. Efforts to keep the Iowa in the Bay Area also failed more recently.
If you read Los Altos Patch writer Parke Ballantine's story in January about as volunteers lovingly cared for it while it was berthed in Richmond undergoing repairs, that was your last chance to walk her decks while in the Bay Area.
The next chance? San Pedro, where the ribbon-cutting will take place on July 7.
It will take about three to four days for the U.S.S. Iowa to make its way to Los Angeles. Southern California publications were already trumpeting news of its departure.