The USS ' Iowa, first of four 45,000-ton battleship of her class to be commissioned,, as travelled close to 150,000 mileg, chasing the Japanese from the Marshall islands to the vicinity of Tokyo since January, 1944, only once suffering moderate damage from enemy fire.--
The Iowa "has already done muc',z toward repaying her initial cost of $110,000,000," according to Vice Admiral E. L. Cochrane, USN, Chief of the bureau of ships. "She has earned her title of 'First Lady of the Third Fleet' through the record she has established.---
"Eight hundred and eighty-seven feet long and over 108 fee! of beam, she possesses the latest features of hull design, propulsion, armor and armament. Her striking power and that of her sister ships, the USS NEW JERSEY, WISCONSIN AND MISSOURI, is unexcelled on the sea today. This is combined with structural strength capable of withstanding the fort~ of enemy bombardments, air attacks and typhoons.---"The Iowa, in her two and a half years in service has proven that the mighty new type battleships have a very definite and important role to play in a modern navy.---
The oily time the Iowa has suffered damage by enemy action was in the operations in the Marshall islands on March 18, 1944. when Japanese shore batteries or Mille atoll scored two hits. On( she'1l landed on Number Two main battery turret and the otl,e: against the port, side of the hull Only moderate damage resulted no fires were started and thcrE were no personnel casualties. ThE Iowa continued her shelling of the island's installations in an unbroken patter, starting two fires on the southern end of the atoll, obliterating other targets.--
Prior to the Mille episode, the ship had taken part in other Marshall islands strikes, and had a hand in amphibious landings by protecting carriers whose planes were bombing Kwajalein and Eniwetok.--
In a bombardment of Ponape in early May, 1944, the Iowa sent salvoes from her 16-inch guns into enemy positions on the slopes of the island and into the =airfield and its nearby barracks. Fires vere started i n the island's town and waterfront district. The only observed enemy retaliation was spore adic antiaircraf, fire seen from a distance.--
No Return Fire
No return fire was encountered in the Iowa's blasting of Saipan and Tinian in th Marianas in June, 1944. One salvo from the main battery blew up an amunition dump with spectacular results.--
The Iowa made its first sweep into the western Pacific late in 1944, leaving a base in October with the task force assigned to protecting the Leyte landings. She also operated with the carriers whose planes struck against Okinawa., Formosa, Luzon and the Visayas.--
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The Iowa and other surface units with heavy enough armament to blast the best of the Jap fleet were prepared to engage the enen:y in a decisive battle in these e a 1.1 y strikes against heavily guarded targets in the inner circle of enemy defenses. In the Iowa's task group were other battleships, carriers, light cruisers and destroyers. During the intense bombing of Formosa's airfields and factories, the United States force was under air attack several times.--
Force Started South
On Oct. 25, the force started south toward San Bernadino Straits in the Philippines, and that night contacted one enemy vessel which appeared to be either a destroyer or a light cruiser. Salvoes from the Iowa's force started huge fires on the ship. Light units closed in on the burning ship and continued to fire until tremendous topside and underwater explosions were heard and the ship was declared sunk.--
The following morning a large oil slick was observed and about .110 Japanese survivors were found among the debris.--
In the Formosa and Northern Luzon sweeps a total of 43 enemy planes were shot down. In late November, during the strikes at Luzon, antiaircraft fire from the Iowa and accompanying ships accounted for several enemy dive bombers. When the assault on Luzon was resumed in December, the Iowa completed the tour of duty in that area undamaged from enemy air or surface units.--
Early in 1945, the battleship arrived at the U. S. naval drydocks, Hunter's Point, Cal., for routine overhaul and modernization of her equipment. Upon completion of improvements she again joined the Third fleet for the ravaging sweeps up and down the enemy's homeland.--
The Iowa was co ed Feb. 22, 1943, at the New 'Fork navy yard under the command of Rear Admiral (then Captain) Jan L. McCrea, USN. Other successi le commanding officers have been:--
Captain Allen R. McCann, USN: Captain James L. Holloway, Jr,.; USN; and Captain Charles Wellborn, Jr., USN. '
After commissioning and shaker down, the Iowa carried President Roosevelt to Casablanca for h;3 conference wit;l Prime Minister Churchill.-
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