On Saturday, Oct 21, the Men’s Club toured the USS Iowa, nicked named “The Big Stick”. It is permanently anchored near the entrance to the L.A. Harbor, near the cruise ship dock. We took a self guided tour of this magnificent ship. As Veterans arrive on the ship, the Crew welcomes them aboard with an announcement over the public address system…a very nice touch. We started on the bow (front) of the ship, which puts you under six of the nine 16” cannons that adorn this vessel as a part the total armament aboard. Although you do not enter the turret, a video explains the complexity of loading and firing these big guns. A sample of the powder and projectile are on display. It was amazing how many crew members were needed to operate these cannons. The self tour takes you throughout the vessel, enabling you the see how the crew lived, worked and relaxed aboard ship. It was evident by the size of living quarters, the higher your rank, the better the living. Additionally, you see examples the remaining armament: smaller cannons, several types of machine guns and different types of missiles. There is an excellent museum style area near the ships store. One of the displays is dedicated to the terrible accident when one of the 16” cannons exploded and 41 crew members were lost. The video brought tears to my eyes, as well as most of the other people viewing it. The exit brings you up to the stern (rear) of the ships. This very large area was used to land and launch helicopters. We all enjoyed the tour very much and agreed that it demonstrates that our freedom is not free. We had lunch at a local bistro after the tour.
Contributed by Chas Phillips