USS Iowa Berths at the Port of Los Angeles

The giant battleship is slated to become a museum

The length of threee football fields and the height of 15-story building, the USS Iowa on Saturday began its reign as an impressive presence at the Port of Los Angeles.

The decommissioned World War II-era battleship berthed at the port after a years-long struggle from supporters to get her to San Pedro.

"There's nothing like giant guns, heavy armor and the ability to go so fast nobody can keep up with you," said Robert Kent of the Pacific Battleship Center. "This is the last battleship left in the world."

Dubbed "The Battleship of Presidents," the USS Iowa is set to become a floating museum and memorial in coming months. San Pedrans also hope she'll attract tourists to the harbor community.

Having served in two wars, the USS Iowa is showing her age. So are some of the sailors who once called the floating warrior home.

A number of them attended Saturday's festivities.

"You go to war, you know who your buddies area," remembers Brian Moss, who got emotional recalling his time serving aboard the USS Iowa during the Korean War.

"It's a good deal," Moss said.

Those emotions are meaningful to volunteers who worked for years to bring the battleship to San Pedro.

Volunteer Steve Chesser said: "I hope what people take away from this is that the people who served here really believed they were part of something special."

Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: iPhone/iPad App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts

Contact Us