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Thread: Bring Back The Iowa Class Discussion And Debate

  1. #466
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    Hello guys, I have been a member of this board and others in the past. Eventually I forget my password and years pass by, kids grow up and my hair gets more grey. I can remember back to 1990 when I was applying to the naval academy with the hope of serving on a battleship above all else. During this time, I requested to meet with architects at the Gibbs & Cox office in Manhattan. I was young and naive, but I had drawings and specifications for a "new" class of battleship. The architects and engineers were polite, showed interest in my work, but were not interested in developing the idea further which I can understand now more than I could then. I even had Norman Polmar's email address at some point and we would exchange emails once in a while. And, I went down to the academy several times and visited with Mr. Garzke at the Naval Institute and once was introduced to Captain Edward Beach of submarine fame. After getting Mr. Garzke to autograph my battleship book, I went back to New York and licked my wounds over my rejection from entering the academy due to my poor math skills. I still loved the navy, even called Admiral Rickover's assistant (name escapes me) about using nuclear reactors aboard a ship designed to sail in harm's way like a battleship. My father nearly killed me when he got the phone bill that month! Anyway, with all due respect toward those who have dedicated a lifetime to these ships, I have a few questions which may help me decide what course I should set since I feel my life is intertwined with these great ships.

    I understand that the Wisconsin and Missouri are in the best material condition of the four Iowa's. However, what condition is the Massachusetts, North Carolina and Alabama in relation to the Iowa's? Are these three ships in better material condition than the Iowa's or worse due to corrosion and humidity for example. I have been aboard the Massachusetts, looked like a new ship to me. The North Carolina is rumored to be in the best condition. They have been stripped of some items during the reactivation of New Jersey first and then by the others during the 80's. Theoretically, is it just as possible to reactivate one or all of these three museum ships or is it easier to reactivate an Iowa? Thank you, Mark.

  2. #467
    Contributor 85 gt kid's Avatar
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    It's easier to reactivate an Iowa hands down. Not only were they "just" put away but BBs 55,59 and 60 have had alot of parts removed from them to keep the Iowas going (parts that while you could definately make but it'd be expensive). On top of the fact that none of the weapons systems or powerplants have been really been taken care of for years means they would take alot to be seaworthy. Plus habitability is an issue since....well they have non lol. I know Rusty had a heck of time with just the A/C units on the Iowas and they're BIGGER.

    I will say though i've been on all 4 BBs on the east coast and besides the NC they're all in good shape asthetic wise (Massachusetts had a drydocking session in the 80's so her hull was cared for but her outboard props have been removed). North Carolina is having hull work done but by a cofferdam system which i can't see being the greatest work). Would be cool to see one go to sea on her own power. Sadly I wasn't even 2 when the Iowas were decommed.

    O and the NC isn't in horrible shape but I did see soms things that needed attention. Plus like I said she has hull issues sooooo. Figured i'd add that lil tidbit.
    Last edited by 85 gt kid; 10 Apr 14, at 04:08. Reason: adding random crap

  3. #468
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBSupporter View Post
    Hello guys, I have been a member of this board and others in the past. Eventually I forget my password and years pass by, kids grow up and my hair gets more grey. I can remember back to 1990 when I was applying to the naval academy with the hope of serving on a battleship above all else. During this time, I requested to meet with architects at the Gibbs & Cox office in Manhattan. I was young and naive, but I had drawings and specifications for a "new" class of battleship. The architects and engineers were polite, showed interest in my work, but were not interested in developing the idea further which I can understand now more than I could then. I even had Norman Polmar's email address at some point and we would exchange emails once in a while. And, I went down to the academy several times and visited with Mr. Garzke at the Naval Institute and once was introduced to Captain Edward Beach of submarine fame. After getting Mr. Garzke to autograph my battleship book, I went back to New York and licked my wounds over my rejection from entering the academy due to my poor math skills. I still loved the navy, even called Admiral Rickover's assistant (name escapes me) about using nuclear reactors aboard a ship designed to sail in harm's way like a battleship. My father nearly killed me when he got the phone bill that month! Anyway, with all due respect toward those who have dedicated a lifetime to these ships, I have a few questions which may help me decide what course I should set since I feel my life is intertwined with these great ships.

    I understand that the Wisconsin and Missouri are in the best material condition of the four Iowa's. However, what condition is the Massachusetts, North Carolina and Alabama in relation to the Iowa's? Are these three ships in better material condition than the Iowa's or worse due to corrosion and humidity for example. I have been aboard the Massachusetts, looked like a new ship to me. The North Carolina is rumored to be in the best condition. They have been stripped of some items during the reactivation of New Jersey first and then by the others during the 80's. Theoretically, is it just as possible to reactivate one or all of these three museum ships or is it easier to reactivate an Iowa? Thank you, Mark.
    Oh boy, you have invited the Necro godesss among us by reserecting an old thread but Alas, I havent seen the Necro queen in quite some time, expect her anytime now..... just ribbing you.

    P.S. Iowa and New Jersey both have alot more mileage and wear and tear then the younger two Iowas. They (Missouri & Wisconsin) should be in better condition but I might challenge that fact in the future as both may/will seek drydock as the other two already have and the Missouri one more time then all of them. I would bet the NJ is in better material condition interior then atleast 2 of them but yet has more mileage then all of them. The NJ is in fresh water as the rest are in saltwater since becoming a museum in 2000.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 10 Apr 14, at 04:06.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

  4. #469
    Contributor 85 gt kid's Avatar
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    From what i've seen Dread the NJ is in great shape inside. I was just on the Whisky again and Second deck looks to have water issues like the Main deck where I worked last year . Only thing Wisconsin has over you guys is her deck but you'll get yours soon .

  5. #470
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBSupporter View Post
    Hello guys, I have been a member of this board and others in the past. Eventually I forget my password and years pass by, kids grow up and my hair gets more grey. I can remember back to 1990 when I was applying to the naval academy with the hope of serving on a battleship above all else. During this time, I requested to meet with architects at the Gibbs & Cox office in Manhattan. I was young and naive, but I had drawings and specifications for a "new" class of battleship. The architects and engineers were polite, showed interest in my work, but were not interested in developing the idea further which I can understand now more than I could then. I even had Norman Polmar's email address at some point and we would exchange emails once in a while. And, I went down to the academy several times and visited with Mr. Garzke at the Naval Institute and once was introduced to Captain Edward Beach of submarine fame. After getting Mr. Garzke to autograph my battleship book, I went back to New York and licked my wounds over my rejection from entering the academy due to my poor math skills. I still loved the navy, even called Admiral Rickover's assistant (name escapes me) about using nuclear reactors aboard a ship designed to sail in harm's way like a battleship. My father nearly killed me when he got the phone bill that month! Anyway, with all due respect toward those who have dedicated a lifetime to these ships, I have a few questions which may help me decide what course I should set since I feel my life is intertwined with these great ships.

    I understand that the Wisconsin and Missouri are in the best material condition of the four Iowa's. However, what condition is the Massachusetts, North Carolina and Alabama in relation to the Iowa's? Are these three ships in better material condition than the Iowa's or worse due to corrosion and humidity for example. I have been aboard the Massachusetts, looked like a new ship to me. The North Carolina is rumored to be in the best condition. They have been stripped of some items during the reactivation of New Jersey first and then by the others during the 80's. Theoretically, is it just as possible to reactivate one or all of these three museum ships or is it easier to reactivate an Iowa? Thank you, Mark.
    No. No, she doesn't. She doesn't even look like an old ship in good condition. I could give you chapter and verse, but at nearly 58, I don't have that many years left. Suffice it to say that in 25-years of active duty, I inspected a lot of ships. I even did it as a full time job for the CINCPACFLT Inspector General (for Rusty and the gang, while the PEB inspected the material and training status of fleet assets, we did not work for the Staff Material Officer. Rather, we did our thing for the IG, and that precluded any potential conflicts of interest). One of the things that naval officers do as a full-time collateral duty is inspect ships and airplanes. We do it with a practiced eye, and one that is just a little bit jaundiced into the bargain. In other words, we know when someone is sculpting a turd, and a turd, no matter how well-sculpted, is still a turd. Right now, Massachusetts and her sisters are pretty major turds. There isn't enough money in anyone's budget, now and forever, to bring them back.

    What most people don't understand, including people in the Navy who manage weapons acquisitions programs, is that the biggest problem with building something like this from scratch, or even bringing the Iowa's back (which won't happen again), is that they are gluttons for personnel. Ships like that "eat" people like you and I eat popcorn. As anyone who has ever crunched numbers for the military vis-a-vis weapons acquisition will tell you, people are always the longest pole in the tent. You not only have to calculate the personnel costs for those actually serving now and assigned to the ship in question, but then you have to invite the actuarial types to calculate how much those same people are going to cost in the out years. Something I didn't know until I got into the readiness game on the Joint Staff is that money is put aside, out of our wages, sight unseen, for our retirements. Someone like me in the final three years of my service life was actually earning something on the order of $20,000 more per year than showed up in my pay check every month. That's because it was going into my retirement account so that when I left the game in July of 2003, I would be paid 61.5% of my basic pay for the rest of my life with annual COLAs. As crazy as it sounds, by the time I loose this mortal coil, I will have been paid a lot more just to breathe as a retired person than I ever was paid while on active duty. I mean, it's to my benefit, but even I think that's nuts. Now apply that rational calculus to a ship with a SMD of 1500 or more people. You can build and man five very versatile and capable Arleigh Burke-class DDGs for what one Iowa will cost. The only, and I mean ONLY advantage the Iowa has over a Flight III Arleigh Burke is in the NGFS mission, and frankly, we have ways of doing that, from farther away, and with more accuracy than what a 16"/50 with a Mark 1A fire control system can give you.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm as romantic as the next guy and those four ships were something to behold. I enjoyed being in the same Navy with them, I enjoyed being an Orange Force adversary and sneaking up on them, and I am forever grateful for the chance I had to inspect both New Jersey and Missouri, although the former sucked the vacuum of outer space, and the latter was pristine like a museum piece, but at the end of the day, we are living in an era wherein bigger is not better.

    Just one other observation 24 years too late, but you know there is more than one way to earn a commission in the US Navy. Some of us actually went to college rather than a trade school. I spent the bulk of those aforementioned 25 years as an operating marine engineer. My degree? A BA in archaeology, and the highest math I took? College algebra, and I got a gentleman's "C" for the effort. The Navy taught me all I needed to know once I was in their clutches. So you don't get to be a nuke power officer; count yourself fortunate. No matter how hard you try, there's no way to rock pocket protectors and birth control glasses.

  6. #471
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertswo View Post

    A BA in archaeology, and the highest math I took? College algebra, and I got a gentleman's "C" for the effort.
    Oh, my archaeology. Managed to miss Math 50,51 and 52 I see or at the very least 21 and 22.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Oh, my archaeology. Managed to miss Math 50,51 and 52 I see or at the very least 21 and 22.
    A man's got to know his limitations.

    You know what's funny? Once I was on active duty and learning all there is to know about the craft of being a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) and all that math I never learned came back to haunt me, I found that I really wasn't all that bad. My earlier troubles had to do with the way math is taught in the US, which is to say, heavy on the theoretical, and oh so light on the practical. Within a couple of years of being at sea, I could do trigonometry, calculus, vector analysis, algebra with numerous polynomials, and a whole lot of other cats and dogs. The only thing was that none of those terms were ever used. Instead they were called things like "celestial navigation," dead reckoning, set and drift, gunnery, maneuvering board, fuel burn ratios, heat balance equations, etc., etc., etc. Once the theoretical was applied to everyday processes at sea, the mystery fell away. Now I can sit down and look at a differential equation and go, "Meh!" Doesn't bother me in the least.

    Also, there are a whole lot of graduates from the Chesapeake University of Naval Technology who topped out at Lieutenant Commander. Like I said, I went to college, and had fun doing it, and no tool ever ordered me to, "Come around at 1930." On the whole, I kind of like the way I did it.

  8. #473
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    .... kindred spirits......

    Sir, your recital had me from "You know what's funny......"

    Another 1956 model sustains your observation about Practical Application of mathematics.
    I would constantly asked the instructors "where do you use thus stuff?"

    Never did they offer an illustration or an example, just the routine generic " engineers use this formula ".

    When the world opened up after college that question was answered, but it a practical arena that provided the answer, not a theory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blidgepump View Post
    Sir, your recital had me from "You know what's funny......"

    Another 1956 model sustains your observation about Practical Application of mathematics.
    I would constantly asked the instructors "where do you use thus stuff?"

    Never did they offer an illustration or an example, just the routine generic " engineers use this formula ".

    When the world opened up after college that question was answered, but it a practical arena that provided the answer, not a theory.
    Isn't that "stupid" with a capital "stu?" Some people do fine with the theory. My son is one of them. Others of us need to see the application. Unfortunately, most of those who teach math from the 9th grade on, are not equipped to teach the practical because they have no problem with the theoretical, and cannot understand why the rest of us do.

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    Could you please reframe from calling the Massachusetts a "Turd."

    I understand what you are attempting describe, but that sounds downright disrespectful.

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    Well, far from me to tell you what to do, but trying to tell a pro what to call a spade is not particularly respectful now isn't it?
    All those who are merciful with the cruel will come to be cruel to the merciful.
    -Talmud Kohelet Rabbah, 7:16.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow01 View Post
    Could you please reframe from calling the Massachusetts a "Turd."

    I understand what you are attempting describe, but that sounds downright disrespectful.
    No, it sounds like a Captain in the United States Navy, who has in fact shed blood with the officers and sailors of that Navy, who talks like one of those officers and sailors. To ask me not to do it is somewhat analogous to asking me not to breathe. Frankly, at this stage of my life, and in the condition I'm in, I'd just as soon not breathe, so if you don't like the way I talk, take it up with the millions like me. They understand/understood my point, and the metaphor I was using. And they wouldn't be offended.

  13. #478
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    "I understand that the Wisconsin and Missouri are in the best material condition of the four Iowa's. However, what condition is the Massachusetts, North Carolina and Alabama in relation to the Iowa's? Are these three ships in better material condition than the Iowa's or worse due to corrosion and humidity for example. I have been aboard the Massachusetts, looked like a new ship to me. The North Carolina is rumored to be in the best condition. They have been stripped of some items during the reactivation of New Jersey first and then by the others during the 80's. Theoretically, is it just as possible to reactivate one or all of these three museum ships or is it easier to reactivate an Iowa? Thank you, Mark."

    It looks like what I'm asking here is whether or not the North Carolina, Alabama and Massachusetts could have been reactivated during the 1980's just as the Iowa's were?

  14. #479
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    Well there's a few problems with this from what i've read. 1) like I said the Iowa's needed the parts that were only on those ships so now where do you get parts for the other 3? 2) The Iowas had been in Cat B reserve their whole lives so EVERYTHING had been maintained whereas the other had been museums for 20ish years so i'm sure there would have been quite a bit more work to get them going. 3) I'm not sure this would be a deciding factor but they're a good 4-5 knots slower with no way to make them faster. 4)They're quite a bit smaller then an Iowa so it would be harder to fit the ABLs and Harpoons (either by space or sheer weight). I'm sure there's a lot more but that's what I know.

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    The Massachusetts has been a museum ship since 1965. I 'm not sure that any of her turrets have moved since 1946. While parts of her are in good shape, like some of the interior spaces where people visit, the deck is in tough shape and alot of her deck machinery appears to have just been painted over, not maintained.

    I don't think it would've been possible, let alone practical to try to recommission her. She did have some work done in the late 80's and drydock time from 98 to 99 to do hull cleaning and maintenance. They removed the outboard screws and sealed all 4 shaft bearings. The electrical distribution systems work to a large degree and the anchor windlass did as of 99 anyway. But she did not escape corrosion, leaks and other wear related problems. She also had material removed for other ships, both battleships and possibly the heavy cruisers.
    Even if she was in pristine condition, she is all WW2 technology. The Iowa's had systems installed and updated during their various re-activations that would have to be done by scratch with any South Dakota class ship and you still could not escape what DesertSWO posted earlier- the manpower just would not be available or would take away from other needs. Every project the military works on these days is geared around reducing the need for staffing, especially the Navy. It's just not practical or desired.

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