In our two previous excursions aboard U.S. Naval vessels, we visited the USS Ronald Reagan nuclear aircraft carrier (CVN-76) and the World War II era USS Midway aircraft carrier (CV-41).

This time around, club members visited the World War II era USS Iowa battleship (BB-61) for a private tour to learn more about this floating firebase.

Club members met up nearby and were briefed on the day’s event. After the briefing, the club members rolled out and into an adjacent parking lot for a quick photo opportunity before heading over the battleship.

The club had arranged in advance for the battleship to reserve parking for us right in front of the ship for another photo opportunity.

Once aboard the battleship we met our tour guide, himself having served on the USS Iowa and being a Navy veteran. Our guide explained some of history behind the battleship and about some of the engagements it had been involved in, from World War II to the Gulf War.

As began touring the ship with our guide, each aspect of the ship was explained to the members, from its guns and armament to many of its retro fittings, such as the only U.S. Naval vessel with a bath tube and an personal elevator that were installed specifically for President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his trip across the Atlantic Ocean for a secret meeting with Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1943.

After President Roosevelt’s trip across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the USS Iowa, the ship adopted the nickname and became known as, “The Big Stick,” after the phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” which was once uttered by President Roosevelt’s fifth cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt.

One deck after another, our tour guide informed us of the history and events that transpired at each stop along the way, which we all found very interesting and educational. One story told by our guide was that, the ship was once shelled by the enemy and struck but the ship was undamaged and didn’t even know it had been hit due to the thickness of its steel armor.

Having covered the entire ship and learning a lot, the club members thanked our tour guide and bid the USS Iowa farewell. We all then caravaned to a restaurant nearby for lunch where the club members shared their pictures and own Navy stories.

West Coast Challengers would like to thank the staff of the USS Iowa for having us and our tour guide for a wonderful day aboard the ship.

More pictures from the event can be found in our club photo gallery.

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