Get out your flags and cameras ready, folks. The mighty USS Iowa is leaving San Francisco Bay—for real—Saturday.
And there will be a flotilla of well-wishers on the bay to send her off, as her departure coincides with the numerous events planned for the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge.
"USS IOWA will be departing the Port of Richmond, CA on Saturday, May 26 at 1100. IOWA is expected to be transiting under the Golden Gate Bridge on its 75th anniversary between 1400 and 1500 (2:00pm and 3:00pm). If you will be on a small boat, we encourage you to watch ship and boat traffic closely and please be safe!"
Her departure was originally planned for May 20, but bad weather and high seas forced days' long delay. Perhaps to happy conclusion, since the festivities will be even bigger as the maritime community—and everyone else—comes out in force this holiday weekend for the bridge party. Bring out the fireboats.
The U.S.S. Iowa, the last of the battleships, is headed to Los Angeles, where it will become a floating museum—the last of its World War II sister ships to be restored and opened to the public—in San Pedro.
The U.S.S. Iowa (BB-61) is the first of four “Iowa Class Battleships” from World War II. It is the last such ship to find a permanent home befitting its storied past. The other three are the USS New Jersey (now in Camden, N.J.), USS Missouri (at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and historic, for Japan's unconditional surrender was signed on its decks), and USS Wisconsin (in Norfolk, VA).
In the 1980s, then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein lost a bid to homeport the U.S.S. Missouri in San Francisco. Efforts to keep the Iowa in the Bay Area also failed more recently.
If you read Los Altos Patch writer Parke Ballantine's story in January about as volunteers lovingly cared for it while it was berthed in Richmond undergoing repairs, that was your last chance to walk her decks while in the Bay Area.
The next chance? San Pedro, where the ribbon-cutting will take place on July 7.
It will take about three to four days for the USS Iowa to make its way to Los Angeles. Southern California publications were already trumpeting news of its departure.
Plan to find a spot around San Francisco Bay to wave goodbye Saturday and watch Patch for updates on this story.