Des Moines ;- Aug. S--The USS i Iowa, first of ' four 45,000 ton' battlesh.ips of her class to be comwissioned, has travelled close to 150.00,0 miles. chasing the Japanese from the Marshall Islands to the vicinity of Tokyo since Januwry, 1944, only once suffering moderate damage from enemy fire.
The Iowa "has already done much toward repaying fier initial cost of $110.000,000," according -to Vice Admiral E. L. Cochorane, USN, Chief of the Bureau of Ships "She has earned her title of `First Lady of the Th6rd Fleet' through the record she has established.-
887 Feet Long
"Eight hundred and eighty-seven feet long and over 108 feet of beam, sh-e possesses the latest , features of hull design, propulsion, I
armor and armament. Her strik- s ing power and that of her sister ahips, the US New Jersey, Wisconsin and Missouri, Is unexcelled on the sea today. This is combined with structural strength capable of withstanding the force of enemy bombardments, air attacks and typhoons.
"The Iowa, in her two and a half years in- service has proven that the mighty new tyre battle-' ships have a very definite and important role to play in a modern navy.',
Hit Twico (!ff :1farsholls The only 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 on Mille atoll scared two hits. One shell landed on number two main battery turret and the other against the port side of the hull. Only moderate damage resulted, rio fires were started and there were no personnel casualties. The Iowa continued her shelling of the island's installations in an unbroken pattern, starting two large fires on the southern end of the.) Moll, oblitering other targets.
In Other Strikes
Prior to the Mille episode. the' ship had taken part in other Mar-, sball Islands strikes, and had a ho nd in amphibious landings by protecting carriers whose planes 'were bombing Kwajalein and Eni- ! wetok. ' i
In a bombardment of Ponape in early May, 1944, the Iowa sent salvoes from her 16-inch guns in-" to enemy positions on the slopes of the island and into the airfield end its nearby barracks. Fires were started in the island's town and waterfront district. The only observed enemy retaliation was sporadic antiaircraft fire seen from a distance.
.No return fire was encountered 1n the Iowan's blasting of Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas in June 1944. One salvo from the main battery blew up an ammunition dump with spectacular results.
First Sweep Late in 194-4
The Iowa made its first sweep into the western Pacific late in 1 1944, leaving a base in October' with the task force assigned to protecting the Leyte landings. She l, also operated with th-e carriers whose planes struck against Okinawa, Formosa, Luzon and the Visayas.
The Iowa and other surface units with heavy enough armament to blast the best of the Jap fleet were prepared to engage th,.e enemy in a decisive battle in these early strikes against heavily guarded tan-gets in the inner circla of enemy defenses. In the Iowa's task group were other battleships, carriers, light cruisers and destroyers. During the intense bombing of Formosa' air fields and factories, the United States force was under air attack several times.
Contacts Enemy Ship
On October 25, tire force started south toward San Sernadino 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 low as farce 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 50 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, anti-aircraft fire itrom 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.
Routine Overhauling Early in 1945, the battleship arrived at the U. S. Naval Dry docks, -Hunter's. Point, Calif., for routine overhaul and modernization of her equipment. Upon completion of improvements she again joined the Third Reef for the ravaging sweeps up and down the enemy's homeland.
The Iowa. was commissioned Feb. _`2, 1943,. at the New York navy yard under the command of Rear Admiral (then Captain) John L. McCrea, USN. Other successive commanding officers have been
Captain Allen R. McCann, USN; Captain James L. Holloway, Jr., USN; and Captain Charles Wellborn, Jr., USN. '
After commissioning and shakedown, the Iowa carried President Roosevelt to Casablanca for his, conference . with Prime Minister Jhur
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