August 25, 1998|
USS Iowa, Forrestal set to lift anchor
Ron Karafin, Courier-Post
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.
- 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
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
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.