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THE IOWAN: Battleship USS IOWA Fall 2020 Newsletter


Dear friends and supporters,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support you have shown throughout this devastating pandemic. We would not have our decks open today without your unwavering commitment to your ship, mission, and crew.

It is difficult to put into words the full impact of COVID-19 on the crew, the IOWA museum, and our nation. I continue to take my responsibility seriously to provide you the most up-to-date information on the challenges we face, as well as our resolve to persevere.

But the effects of these last months go deeper. This crisis has hit the heart of our shared humanity and put incalculable strain on each of us.

Battleship IOWA has always been a place where people are welcomed and embraced. The ship is a home where relationships are forged and family bonds deepened.  It is a locus of reflection, socialization, and celebration.  Our museum has been, and always will be, about people.

As we head into the giving season, I am conflicted. On one hand, it is no secret we have lost approximately 75% of our annual operating revenue since the pandemic hit and that we need your support in 2020 to continue battling the near term effects of the pandemic to your battleship.  On the other hand, we are pushing forward to build the National Museum of the Surface Navy at Battleship IOWA. You may be asking, Why now?  Why during a pandemic? The answer is a simple one: to ensure the service and sacrifice of our Surface Navy sailors is not forgotten by future generations.

This is why our annual appeal theme isGive Today to Build Tomorrow.” We cannot allow a pandemic to thwart our vision of a world-class museum that not only honors the sailors who served aboard the USS Iowa, but also shines a spotlight on the Surface Navy – the men and women who sail the oceans ensuring security, democracy, and prosperity for the American people and the world since 1775.

national museum of the surface navy header

I know we have asked a lot from you, but it is my belief that as fellow patriots, you know how important our mission is to our nation’s future. Our drastically reduced crew have committed themselves to this mission with focus, passion, and enthusiasm. They follow the same communications each of you receive. I am in awe that each of them takes on the challenge, workload, and stress daily to ensure future generations never forget.  They couldn’t do it if it wasn’t for you being by our side with your support during this pandemic.

Your gift will support your museum today and build our nation’s museum of the future. It will show our crew of volunteers and limited staff that you have our backs during this pandemic.

I hope you will join me in envisioning and creating a museum where future generations will remember what you did, what you gave, and what you believed.

Jonathan Williams
President and CEO


Whether front line or behind the scenes, volunteers have had an even greater impact than usual during the coronavirus pandemic. How they have risen to the challenges, additional training, safety protocols, and adjustments to the daily routine is both inspiring and humbling.

The highlights could practically fill a newsletter on their own… so I wrote a blog about them! Find it here. I’ll give you a couple of quick glimpses now.

First, so many have given so much I hesitate to name names, but there are a few standouts who have been particularly helpful. Thanks to:

  • David DeMoss of the Security Department for holding down the fort during many of the bleakest days;
  • John Pakusich for doing double duty in both the Ops and Tour departments, upping his game in a time of need;
  • Doug Dowds and the BIARA (Battleship IOWA Amateur Radio Association) crew for organizing and managing robust radio operations remotely;
  • Gary Lopes and the IET/GRG crew (just think of them as the electronics wizards) for supporting those efforts and moving forward with technical communications equipment restorations;
  • Chris Barker for interpretive planning for a future communications tour;
  • Neil Stoddard for spearheading and running with the Crew Profiles project;
  • Dave Zisovic for stepping up to cover needs in the Tour Department;
  • Len Jablon for also covering Tour as well as ticketing and merchandise sales – far more complicated than it sounds.


Due to COVID, we’ve been unable to hold our regular volunteer recognition ceremonies, during which we celebrate volunteers who reach certain milestones. We finally were able to hold the first one of the year on Saturday, Oct. 17.




Battleship USS IOWA volunteer of the quarter Jim Ohr

This award was made to Jim Ohr for his ongoing extraordinary contribution to the Pacific Battleship Center and USS IOWA BB61. He was recommended overwhelmingly by his peers, who all agreed that this recognition is well deserved and long overdue.

Check out the blog to find out what makes Jim such a unanimous choice for this honor.

Sue Schmidt
Volunteer Manager


IOWA’s curatorial / history department has kept busy online working with our digital photo collection, researching, responding to questions, supporting requests for information, and integrating a new artifact accessioning software program. We are excited to be able to share part of our collected artifacts online. You can find what we’ve posted thus far on our website.

For this newsletter we’ve chosen to highlight a significant event that has an anniversary next week.

“Fear God and DREADNOUGHT”

From our official Battleship IOWA timeline:

October 26, 1990: Reductions in budgets and the high manning requirements, plus large fuel expense of the battleships lead to all four Iowas being decommissioned during 1990-92, beginning with Iowa. Her sisters are retired soon after the first Persian Gulf War – New Jersey in February 1991 and Wisconsin in September 1991.

Missouri is retained with a reduced crew to attend the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1991, before being taken off the active role in March 1992. Iowa is mothballed at the Atlantic Fleet Reserve at Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Ship’s Deck Log – 1000 – Commenced decommissioning USS Iowa. 1050 – Admiral Johnson, Vice Chief of Naval Operations reads the decommissioning directive. The commissioning pennant and national flag are lowered. The ship is decommissioned for the third and last time.

A final paragraph is written by LT Dave Lopez: “Like all sailors, we train to do our duty. Our prayer is that all the knowledge of our capabilities and readiness to respond will stay the hand of the foe. We do not forget the responsibilities incumbent on those who cherish freedom and draw strength in knowing the capabilities of these great ships to sail into harm’s way. REMEMBER: carriers were built to carry, cruisers were built to cruise, but only one ship was built to BATTLE. FEAR GOD AND DREADNOUGHT!”

Dave Way

If you have artifacts from the IOWA you’d like to donate to our growing museum, please call (877) 446-9261 x713 or email


Our education team is still pushing hard to develop virtual content to engage students who can’t currently visit the ship in person. Our latest offering is an interactive Battleship Zoom Tour and lesson for schools and youth organizations. This tour is customizable for student groups ranging from 3rd grade to 10th grade and its content can be modified to best fit the needs of participating student groups.

The Battleship Zoom Tour includes a brief overview of US history and international conflicts via the Battleship IOWA’s involvement from WWII to 1990, as well as concepts of geography that are adapted to each age group accordingly.

This engaging virtual tour is unlike watching pre-recorded material! It is interactive and allows for a personalized session where students engage with our ship-based educators for synchronized learning, providing the best alternative to an in-person visit to the IOWA. Contact Catherine Moreno to book yours today!


Trying to fan the flames of interest in engineering and technology in your student(s)? Check out a live chat Battleship IOWA COO and Chief Engineer Mike Getscher did recently. It’s an enthralling discussion of how our team developed our Lost At Sea exhibit – from the complexities of constructing a state-of-the-art interactive installation in the confined space of a 1940s naval vessel to insights from Dr. Robert Ballard, the famed underwater explorer who discovered the legendary shipwrecks chronicled in Lost At Sea.

We’re grateful to our incredible sponsor, Marathon Petroleum, for making our virtual programming possible. Keep an eye on our Facebook group and our website for more virtual offerings.


Greetings from Veteran Central this is your Veteran Concierge speaking!

Wow, there is so much to update you on. To say the least, there have certainly been some challenges while spearheading our newest Military and Veterans Affairs department during this pandemic. The good news is that we are plugging away to bring you a wide-range of services and veteran community resources that we can truly be proud of!

To begin, I am excited to announce that we have begun branding and naming rights for our Military & Veterans Affairs department.  From here on out we will be known as Veterans West! Naming is so important and Veterans West sets our intentions and solidifies our role as an integral asset to the veteran and military community on a wide range and national scale. Although our department’s website and Facebook group are still under construction you may preview our content by visiting us at and “liking” and “following” us on Facebook.

Battleship IOWA is committed to our 3-PillarsEducationVeteransand Community.
Veterans Resource Center and the Veterans Community Calendar presented by Veterans West, a Battleship IOWA program, is an example of our unique position to showcase the great contributions of our veteran service organizations and community affiliates – to bring our extended family together for the purpose of strengthening relationships and making it easier for veterans to navigate where to go and find out who is offering these great opportunities. It’s never been easier to find all of our hard-working veterans and military family community events and activities than now! Remember to continue to check in on our Veteran COVID 19 Resource List for continual updates.

Veteran Concierge
Do you need or want personalized guidance on our resources and calendar? Would you like some company and /or to get a ride to a veteran service or community partner location? Would you care for some assistance with a veteran-specific issue or need help navigating veteran benefits? Reach out to me to get going. You can call or email me. Now that I have electricity in my office, we can also arrange for in-person meetings!

Janice Bowman
Veterans and Military Affairs Manager


Speaking of veterans… You won’t be surprised to hear that due to COVID, our in-person events calendar isn’t terribly full at the moment. We do, however, have a pretty special event lined up for Veterans Day.

veterans day 2020 at battleship iowa

On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, at 7:30 pm Pacific Time, Battleship IOWA Museum and The Veterans National Entertainment Workshop will observe Veterans Day with Veterans Day West 2020 – a special, FREE online concert with the theme of “United We Stand – Stronger Together!” The concert will feature U.S. military veteran performers from around the country singing popular songs of unity, togetherness, and friendship. The concert will also feature a special performance by world-famous opera singer, Renée Fleming, and salutes to our veterans from several celebrities including Rich LittleTanya Acker and more. Comedian BJ Lange, U.S. Air Force retired, will host the program.

Battleship IOWA and Veterans National Entertainment Workshop honor all veterans – living and deceased – who have served our country for their service and sacrifice. In these difficult pandemic times with social and economic hardship, we hold to the values of service and support, the power of unity, and the legacy of “working together” that have made this country strong. What better way to come together than joining in rousing, inspiring music performed by our veterans? Songs will include popular rock, folk, and pop covers by the Beatles, Andrew Gold, Matisyahu, and more.

Before the concert, there will be a drive-through care package event from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm sponsored by Phillips 66. The care packages will include practical items as well as “thank you” gifts to support local veterans in need during this pandemic. The care packages will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

WHEN: Airing free online, Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm Pacific Time. The concert will remain online for viewing after the premiere date.

WHERE: Battleship USS IOWA website and Facebook page and Veterans National Entertainment Workshop website and Facebook page.


The Tour Department has made the best of our opportunity to remain open during this
pandemic. Thanks to some insightful leadership by our Executive Team earlier this year that positioned us as an outdoor museum, we have been able to offer our guests the opportunity to visit the ship at a time when other traditional museums and attractions have either been closed or severely restricted in their operations.

Our current tour product, the Outdoor Tour Pass, gives our guests exterior access to five different levels on board the ship. During a time when opportunities are few for families to leave their houses and enjoy a family outing, the Battleship IOWA provides such an opportunity in a safe and secure environment, while maintaining strict adherence to all applicable State, County, and City guidelines and health orders.

The Battleship IOWA has weathered world wars, cold wars and the occasional hot spots around the globe. Today she is facing an enemy that has threatened her survival in a very different way. But like the past this ship will survive because of a dedicated crew and the support of those that recognize the Battleship IOWA is more than just another ship. The Battleship IOWA is an American icon and a symbol of the American Spirit. It is that spirit and hard work that will guide the way for the Pacific Battleship Center’s successful response to this pandemic and the economic challenges that are still ahead of us.

Craig Post
Public Programs Manager


Ticketing Note

While social distancing protocols are in place, we ask that you purchase tickets online prior to your arrival to the ship. You can also check out our new arrival procedures in this short video.


As usual, the ops team has been hard at work to maintain all 887 feet of Battleship IOWA. Since we’ve been able to allow our volunteer force back aboard for physically distanced maintenance projects, they’ve knocked out a bunch.

Notable items crossed off the list:

  • At the request of the Port of LA, the furthest south mooring line was relocated to the inboard bollard to reduce loading on the bollard.
  • Repairs to the 02 level port bulkhead and life raft rack restoration have been completed and the team has transitioned to 01 port for significant steel repair and drainage corrections.
  • Wood deck repairs are underway on the 02 level.
  • Portside crane operator’s station repair and reconstruction is complete.
  • Plumbing for the CPO heads is nearly complete.
  • Anchor windlass compartment refurbishment is complete.
  • Fantail painting is complete.
  • Temporary lighting for veterans’ programs office complete.


We are very excited to announce the Battleship Iowa 360 degree virtual tour which will be available to the public on Veterans Day, November 11, 2020.

This tour has over 300 immersive images allowing viewers to walk the deck of the Mighty Iowa, go behind the ropes and see areas not open to the tour, and explore various exhibits. We will be continuously adding elements to this tour over the coming months and years, including additional areas of the ship to see, interactive online exhibits, and even games relevant to the the ship that can be played.

The tour becomes even better when viewed through Virtual Reality browsers such as the Oculus platform or even Google Cardboard. Check it out in November by visiting our website.


Thank you, Thank You, Thank You!

Your support has truly been humbling with so many worthy organizations to support during this devastating pandemic. Your support says you believe in this ship, her crew, and our mission.  Our ability to weather this storm and reopen our ship wouldn’t be possible without your support.  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

If you ever need assistance making a contribution or would like to discuss Planned Giving or Sponsorship opportunities, please contact our VP of Development, Joleen Deatherage, at 877-446-9261 ext. 747 or email

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Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

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