Battleship Iowa docks into final L.A. home
Los Angeles Times
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Battleship Iowa is set to be recommissioned July 4 as a museum, with public tours three days later.
As a fireboat shot a plume of water and crowds waved jubilantly from the shore, the battleship Iowa docked at its new permanent home at Berth 87 on the San Pedro waterfront Saturday, where the historic warhorse will become a floating museum.
Hundreds of dignitaries, elected officials and sailors who served on the ship during World War II were on deck as the boat, pulled and guided by tugboats because it no longer has power of its own, completed its final 3.4-nautical mile journey through Los Angeles Harbor.
"This is my first time aboard since 1946," said Bob Dedic, who served from 1944 to 1946 and wore a cap he had bought at the ship's store more than six decades ago.
Dedic recalled wild storms, including one typhoon in which he feared the ship would capsize. He also remembered calmer days, when sailors would jump into the ocean for a swim, while back on deck others would shoot at sharks to keep them away from those frolicking in the water.
Every day that he was onboard, Dedic recalled, "I wrote my sweetheart." He married her, too, and Eleanor Dedic, his wife of 66 years, was with him Saturday, along with their two daughters and a granddaughter who had flown in from New York for the occasion.
The ship had been docked temporarily at Berths 51-52 since arriving from San Francisco Bay but will make its permanent home at Berth 87. The 45,000-ton warship is the biggest U.S. battleship ever built.
The ship was decommissioned for the final time in 1990 and spent the past decade in the Suisun Bay mothball fleet. The Pacific Battleship Center plans to recommission the ship July 4 and begin public tours three days later.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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