Operation Crush COVID Week 2: Our Veterans

You’ve heard about our Veterans pillar, right? Well step aboard Battleship IOWA and you won’t just find an imposing, storied ship with beautiful lines. You’ll find a thriving community of veterans.

We primarily serve veterans in Los Angeles County/SoCal, but with the advent of COVID-19, our veterans outreach has climbed. Our ability to provide the connection to peers and a community family, by phone and virtually, has helped ease the distress many of our veterans currently feel.

Members of every service branch and era find camaraderie aboard our venerable ship. For many she has become a second home or a return to an old home. For others she is a place to heal wounds of battles past.

All will tell you she has given them a family they never expected.

Here, in their words, is what IOWA means to them.

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David Canfield, United States Navy

Battleship IOWA Museum Vice President and Chief Information Officer David Canfield reported aboard USS Iowa as a seventeen-year-old, never dreaming what this grand lady would come to mean to him or how much of an impact she would make on his life.

Battleship IOWA CIO David Canfield

“I reported on the 13th of November 1987 in Marseilles, France. Aboard IOWA I had the best of times and the worst of times – from liberty in Europe to the April 19 turret two tragedy. My experiences aboard this ship formed the foundation for who I am today.

“Returning to IOWA has been a dream come true – the ability to help this organization serve others aboard my ship is an experience beyond words.”


Janice Bowman, United States Coast Guard

Manager of Military and Veterans Affairs Janice Bowman (left) came to Battleship IOWA and immediately fell in love with the authenticity of the ship’s culture and positive attitudes, which she feels produce great experiences for IOWA’s guests “as well as, sometimes, lifelong relationships. Many who visit will return and / or want to volunteer, work with, or partner with our ship.”

Battleship IOWA Veterans and Military Affairs Manager Janice Bowman

“I visited the IOWA during a Fleet Week several years ago… I felt a powerful connection to the ship and its crew through shared experiences. I wanted to engage further and found ways to revisit, cultivate further relationships, and find ways to partner on projects, events, and activities.

“[IOWA] has given me purpose. I have met people that feel like family and it has made me feel like I have a real home away from home.”


Leonard Jablon, United States Navy

Tour guide and education department volunteer Leonard Jablon is a veteran of IOWA’s sister ship USS New Jersey. His wife Stacie forced a reluctant Len to tour IOWA on Veterans Day 2013. As soon as he stepped aboard, all the memories of his time on BB-62 came flooding back.


Battleship IOWA volunteer Leonard Jablon


“Being a volunteer on the IOWA has made me feel useful again. I educate people about the Navy and Iowa Class battleships. I also teach STEM activities to school children from Los Angeles Unified for our Day of Discovery Program.

“To support the IOWA is to support education programs, veterans programs, and the community at large. All three are intertwined. The local San Pedro area was once the home of the Pacific Fleet, and many battleships, destroyers, and frigates were home ported here. The military dollars were very important for this community, providing many higher paying jobs. Veterans who live in the cities nearby can come to the battleship for job hunting support, camaraderie, and many other things. Through our Day of Discovery and Camp Battleship programs, we educate our younger generations in STEM, and the importance of studying the history of the Navy, and its impact on freedom around the world.”


Support Operation Crush COVID and help us continue to support our veterans!

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