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South Jersey

Tuesday, August 25, 1998

USS Iowa, Forrestal set to lift anchor

By Ron Karafin, Courier-Post

ANCHORS AWEIGH: The USS Iowa, docked at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, is set for removal next month as Kvaerner ASA clears space for its shipbuilding operation.


By CAROL COMEGNO
Courier-Post Staff

PHILADELPHIA - Two more of the largest ships in the naval reserve fleet will leave next month to make room for a private shipbuilding operation.

The World War II battleship USS Iowa, sister ship of the USS New Jersey, is scheduled to depart Sept. 14, said Navy spokesman Warren Christensen.

On Sept. 8, the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal is due to leave.

Both will be towed to the Naval Education Training Center at Covington Cove in Newport, R.I.

The naval reserve basin, where the ships are now housed, was not big enough for the ships in the reserve. So it began using space along the Delaware River at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, which Kvaerner ASA, an international shipbuilding company, acquired after the yard was closed by the government. Kvaerner representatives say the company needs the space.

With the two ships leaving and the departure of the carrier Saratoga earlier this month, there will be only one major ship along the Delaware River piers - the aircraft carrier America. Since Philadelphia is the Navy's only freshwater reserve, the new home for the two ships will be exposed to salt water, which is more damaging to ships.

"Our reserve facility is the biggest because the Navy prefers to dock its ships in freshwater whenever possible because it is less corrosive to the metal," Christensen said.

The Iowa once carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt part of the way to the Tehran Conference during World War II and is the only battleship with a bathtub, which was installed for the president. In 1989, 47 sailors were killed in a gun turret explosion aboard the Iowa.

The Iowa and the Forrestal are on the list for museum donations although the Iowa's status may change this fall when the USS New Jersey will likely be substituted in her place. Camden is one of three cities seeking to become the home of the New Jersey if it becomes a museum.



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