70 Years Ago: The Big Stick arrives on Battleship Row
In the above, note that Iowa has lost her WWII seaplane catapults– her class used helicopters during their Korean tours-– as well as her 20mm Orelikons but still maintains her 40mm Bofors batteries.
The NHHC also has this great bow shot in their files from the same day.
As well as a direct overhead shot.
Iowa commissioned 22 February 1943 and earned nine battle stars for her World War II service. Post-war, she served as Fifth Fleet flagship and conducted a variety of sea training, drills, and maneuvers with the Fleet before she entered mothballs in 1949.
However, her slumber was short.
After Communist aggression in Korea necessitated an expansion of the active fleet, Iowa recommissioned 25 August 1951, Captain William R. Smedberg III in command. She operated off the West Coast until March 1952, when she sailed for the Far East. On 1 April 1952, Iowa became the flagship of Vice Admiral Robert T. Briscoe, Commander, 7th Fleet, and departed Yokosuka, Japan to support United Nations Forces in Korea. From 8 April to 16 October 1952, Iowa was involved in combat operations off the East Coast of Korea. Her primary mission was to aid ground troops, by bombarding enemy targets at Songjin, Hungnam, and Kojo, North Korea.
During this time, Admiral Briscoe was relieved as Commander, 7th Fleet. Vice Admiral J. J. Clark, the new commander, continued to use Iowa as his flagship until 17 October 1952. Iowa departed Yokosuka, Japan 19 October 1952 for overhaul at Norfolk and training operations in the Caribbean Sea.
She added two Korean War battlestars to her tally, then spent the next five years in a series of Cold War operations in the Med– where she was Sixth Fleet flag– and throughout the North Atlantic region.
Iowa decommissioned 24 February 1958 for a second time, then entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia, where she remained until a trip to Pascagoula for her second recommissioning in 1984– and I was a goofy ten-year-old in the stands at Ingalls West Bank that day, my heart bursting.