Museum Update 27 July 2022

In Today’s Update…

…we take a closer look at our veterans’ programs (click the link to jump right to that section):

We’re also sharing a new tour experience, a save the date, and our latest podcast. Find them here:


A Deeper Dive Into Our Veterans Programs

Veterans have been and always will be high on our priority list and our appreciation of their service is difficult to put into words. We are proud to offer several programs that reach, support, and keep our service members and their families connected to community.

By donating to our veterans department, you are able to directly impact the quality, quantity, and reach of the resources we provide access to. To make a contribution, you can click the button below (or visit our website) and designate your gift to Veterans in the donation window. Your consideration and support is greatly appreciated.

Veterans West

Veterans West at Battleship IOWA delivers resources and programs to meet the needs of military and veterans across Greater Los Angeles, by providing a comprehensive array of programs and opportunities, and access to a supportive community.

We support key events throughout the year – such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day, conduct job fairs to inform veterans of employment opportunities, facilitate connections to health and wellness services, provide a safe space in which they can network with other veterans, and much more.

The Veterans West team acknowledges and embraces the inherent differences between veterans and responsively tailors the process, practice, and service delivery accordingly. Battleship IOWA has become one of the busiest veteran-serving non-profit locations in Southern California, and Veterans West continues to offer virtual resources and support to individuals across the country.

Veterans Peer Access Network (VPAN)

The Veteran Peer Access Network (VPAN) team aboard IOWA representing Supervisorial District 4 operates as a community-driven support network, connecting veterans with Los Angeles County departments, non-profits, the VA, and LA City programs.

Resources available include:

  • Mental Health – Treatment for trauma from combat exposure, military sexual trauma, relationship and intimacy issues
  • Substance Misuse Support – Treatment for substance use disorders, including misuse of alcohol, prescription medication, and other drugs
  • Housing – Temporary and permanent housing for veterans and their families, help locating housing
  • Workforce Development and Employment – Help with developing interview skills, resume creation, job coaching, plus volunteer and job opportunities
  • Healthcare – Enrollment into VA healthcare, transportation to appointments, ensuring access to prescription medications
  • Education – Support with school enrollment, vocational training, tuition assistance
  • Miscellaneous – Food, childcare, transportation, financial assistance, and more
  • Legal Services – Help with eviction prevention, discharge upgrade, applying for VA benefits, etc.
  • Social Connection/Recreation – Opportunities to connect with other veterans in a variety of settings

Additional information about VPAN’s background, mission and structure is available in its Action Plan document.


Battleship IOWA has become a targeted destination for many service members enrolled in the Department of Defense SkillBridge (DOD SkillBridge) program. These service members are closing out their military service and are looking for guidance as they take the step into a civilian career. By leveraging our network of devoted corporate and community partners, we are able to connect enrollees with opportunities that best fit their skill sets and interests, paving a smooth landing at the culmination of their military service.

Our first SkillBridge intern, Kristen Burns-Agria, joined the ship last January and promptly became a greatly appreciated member of the crew. She did fantastic work with us and has gone on to a job in her preferred field – travel and tourism. While we miss her daily presence, we’re on the hunt for our next intern. Kristen set the bar high, so we’re looking forward to whoever comes next!

  • To find out more about SkillBridge, click here.
  • To hear Kristen’s impressions of her time with us, click here.

A New Experience Aboard Battleship IOWA

Picture it. The year is 2011. After a decade of work, the US Navy has just awarded you custody of the last of its great battleships – USS Iowa.

But there’s a catch.

She’s been languishing in the Suisun Bay Naval Reserve Fleet – known colloquially as the “ghost fleet” – for ten years, and she’s been “mothballed” – closed up, sealed up, and in indefinite storage – for a total of twenty. She’s hot, stinky, and claustrophobic inside. 

The Navy has a checklist you have to fill out in order to be allowed to tow her. It’s 158 items long. Because no one knows where said items are, you have to search the ship from top to bottom to locate them. 

To make the task of finding them even more difficult, the ship has no power, so everything is dark; you have to negotiate her decks by flashlight.

If that’s not enough, you have an insanely tight window to move her. There are only two days on which the water in the bay will be deep enough for her to float, yet still shallow enough for her to get under a bridge that was built after she was anchored. That date is a mere six weeks away.

If you can’t get her out, it’s highly likely she may never leave, and even be scrapped – lost forever.

Can you do it? Can you save this engineering marvel and historical treasure?

The circumstances above are a true story. We actually did everything described in order to bring Battleship IOWA to Los Angeles. Now we’ve reimagined a very abbreviated version of that challenge.

Part escape room, part scavenger hunt, all fun, Escape The Ghost Fleet is the newest in our add-on tours menu, but it’s not like any other offering we have. For this one, you guide yourself (with supervision), and search for rarely-seen spaces not open on any other tour.

And this week, you have an exclusive chance to be among the first to try out this new experience. We’re holding a lottery to pick the first groups to take their shots at “saving” Battleship IOWA from the scrapyard.

Think you have what it takes to save IOWA? Click the button below!

Save The Date

…for this year’s Freedom of the Seas gala.

The 2021 celebration was an epic night with riveting speakers (check out Ambassador Rob O’Brien talking international diplomacy here), amazing food (from Summit Catering), and an incredible atmosphere.

Stay tuned for details about reservations and join us!

Scuttlebutt This Week

Ready for Part II of the panel we held at our ten year anniversary celebration?

This part was a lot of fun. The guys reminisced about “Mike walks,” David’s “fire stick,” and missing keys when they worked on IOWA in the “ghost fleet” and Sue Schmidt described the gestation of our volunteer program, which is still the core and life blood of this institution today.

Or click the photo below for the YouTube version.

NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to:
Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA 90731
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Site developed by Wicked Code, Inc. and funded by The Edward E. & Marie L. Matthews Foundation •  Photos by Rick Stipa Photography
Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

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