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August 26th, 2011
 

Latham Leads Effort to Preserve USS Iowa

WASHINGTON, DC – Iowa Congressman Tom Latham is leading a congressional effort to preserve the battleship USS Iowa, a historically significant battleship that played important roles during World War II, the Korean War and the Gulf War.

Congressman Latham has invited all the other members of Iowa’s congressional delegation to join in a unified effort in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, urging the Navy to preserve the USS Iowa.  Currently, the vessel is kept near San Francisco, but plans are in motion to move the battleship to a permanent location where it can be converted into a museum.  However, if the USS Iowa is not moved by winter, the changing weather conditions could complicate the preservation process.

“This unique situation demands a swift response to avoid the damaging effects of the impending winter,” the letter to Secretary Mabus says. “If the USS Iowa cannot be moved before the winter months take hold, the battleship would silt and require the labor-intensive and costly act of dredging before towing to its final resting place can commence.”

The letter also notes the battleship’s historical importance to Iowa and the nation.

“Our nation’s brave men and women in uniform served aboard the USS Iowa in the fight to defend our nation in the Second World War, Korea and the Gulf War,” the letter says. “As President Roosevelt’s transportation to and from the Tehran conference, the “Air Force One” of its day, this symbol of American might deserves immediate preservation to ensure it can be forever treasured by current and future generations.”

Latham’s efforts are a move to help the thousands of Iowans who have been working to save the ship through awareness and fund-raising campaigns the past few years.

Iowans are invited to join in the effort by sending their thoughts along to the Secretary via the Navy’s online comment form located at the bottom of the page: navy.mil/submit/contacts.asp

The full text of the letter follows:

Mr. Secretary:

We write to you today to urge your assistance in the expeditious caretaking of one of America’s greatest battleships, the USS Iowa. Our nation’s brave men and women in uniform served aboard the USS Iowa in the fight to defend our nation in the Second World War, Korea and the Gulf War. As President Roosevelt’s transportation to and from the Tehran conference, the “Air Force One” of its day, this symbol of American might deserves immediate preservation to ensure it can be forever treasured by current and future generations.

We understand that the Department of the Navy Ship Donation Office has made the formal recommendation to begin the process of converting our beloved battleship into a museum. The undersigned respectfully request your assistance in resolving the Navy’s formal approval process as quickly as possible. This unique situation demands a swift response to avoid the damaging effects of the impending winter.  If the USS Iowa cannot be moved before the winter months take hold, the battleship would silt and require the labor-intensive and costly act of dredging before towing to its final resting place can commence.

Recently our state’s governor, Terry Branstad, signed a $3 million appropriation to galvanize our state’s commitment to the proper home and restoration of our esteemed battleship.  Any assistance that can be offered to expedite the contribution of this important piece of our nation’s history to the American public would be deeply appreciated.

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