Bring USS Iowa to San Francisco!

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Hear about the final stages to placing the battleship U.S.S. Iowa in San Francisco as a museum & memorial.

Three and a half years after her historic 43-day, 5,700 mile tow from Rhode Island, through the Panama Canal, and under the Golden Gate Bridge for a midnight arrival, the three-football-field long battleship U.S.S. Iowa, now berthed at the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet awaits her Congressionally-supported destination, the Port of San Francisco, where she is headed to serve as a museum, memorial and possible crisis response center.

"U.S.S. Iowa is the third and final opportunity for San Francisco and the community to bring a ship of such historical significance, economic benefit, national interest, and global appeal to the San Francisco waterfront", states Merylin Wong, President and Director, Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square ("HSMPS"). "We invite the community to hear about the final stages of making this noble endeavor a reality at our December 7 reception."    

In 1996, San Francisco lost its bid for U.S.S. Iowa's sister ship, U.S.S. Missouri, to a Pearl Harbor, Hawaii-based group. In May 1998, five weeks after HSMPS submitted its formal application to acquire U.S.S. Iowa for use as a museum and memorial from the U.S. Navy, legislation was introduced to return the 887-foot, 48,000 ton battleship to the Naval Vessel Register and place it in reserve status in order to release a second sister ship, U.S.S. New Jersey, for use as a museum in the State of New Jersey. Current law requires that the Navy keep two of the total of four ‘Iowa'-class battleships in reserve status. The fourth sister, U.S.S. Wisconsin, in reserve status is berthed in Norfolk, Virginia. All four of the ‘Iowa's' have visited San Francisco in the past--they came for maintenance, repairs, overhauls, port calls, and recommissioning and decommissioning ceremoni es.            

Commissioned in February 1943, U.S.S. Iowa is the namesake of the most powerful and fastest class of battleships ever launched by the American nation. The design, size, speed, capabilities and funding of the four battleships were so influenced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt that a bathtub was included on the U.S.S. Iowa, the only Navy ship today with such an feature, for our nation's only invalid president.

As the Air Force One of its day, U.S.S. Iowa took FDR to the Teheran Conference to meet with Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Chiang Kai-Shek. Due to the untimely death of FDR in April 1945, then Vice President Harry Truman took occupancy of the White House, and what was suppose to have been the platform for the surrender ceremony marking the end of World War II--FDR's favorite, U.S.S. Iowa--was no longer.

"U.S.S. Iowa has enjoyed Congressional support from our California and Bay Area delegations who succeeded in passing legislation to express the sense of Congress that the U.S.S. Iowa should be homeported at the Port of San Francisco and to provide the $3 million appropriation to make possible the unprecedented relocation of the ship to the Bay Area in April 2001," comments HSMPS Executive Vice President & Director, William B. Stephens, adding "soon U.S.S. Iowa will be available for use as a museum--our people stand ready to submit an updated and enhanced formal application to the Navy to bring one of the most historic and charismatic ships ever launched to San Francisco".

Historic Ships Memorial at Pacific Square ("HSMPS") is a non-profit, public benefit organization established in 1996 to acquire custodianship of U.S.S. Iowa for use as a museum and memorial in San Francisco. HSMPS is recognized by the Congress, the U.S. Navy, the States of Iowa and California, the City of San Francisco, and numerous business, civic, veteran, and youth groups as San Francisco's bid for the battleship.

HSMPS will host its 3rd Annual "Big Stick" (nickname for the U.S.S. Iowa) Symposium and cover the final stages to bringing U.S.S. Iowa to the Port of San Francisco. The Symposium, entitled "BRING IOWA TO SAN FRANCISCO", will be held on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2004 at the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf Hotel, 555 Northpoint Street, between Jones and Taylor Streets, 6-8:30PM. Seats are $35 per person with all net proceeds to benefit HSMPS. Sponsorships available. For reservations, call 415 381-2029.

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Merylin Wong

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