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Christmas Gift Guide

The Big Stick

Big guns

Three-gun turrets

Officers mess

Officers galley

Map find

XO's Stateroom

Senior officer staterooms

Officers head

Down below

Superstructure

Captain's in-port cabin

Sleeping quarters

FDR tub

5-inch guns

Inside the 5-inch turret

Exhaust

Decks of teak

Flag bridge

Flag plot

Better view

Navigation bridge

Cables and tubes

Conning tower

Quite a view

Captain's chair

Not-so-great views

Dashboard

Fire control

See-whiz

Chaff

Harpoon

Tomahawk

Armored box launchers

Fantail

Crew quarters

Dorm?

Not much of a lounge

CMCPO

Chow line

Bakery

Crew's mess

Rifled barrel

Flight deck

The mighty ship

The USS Iowa was called The Big Stick, and after a long career, and long stint in the mothball fleet, it's now a museum ship at the Port of Los Angeles.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Though they don't look like it here, each one of those cannons is at least as wide as your chest. They fired 16-inch shells.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

They're called "three-gun" turrets, not "triple-gun" turrets because each gun can be elevated and fired on its own.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The Iowa tour is self-guided, but one of the easiest-to-follow self-guided tours I've been on. Just follow the on the deck, and eventually you see everything available to see.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

One of the many galleys on the ship. This one is for the 150 or so officers on board.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

During the restoration process, this hand-painted map was found underneath several layers of wall paint. There's no record of it, but using the names of several countries, it's assumed it was painted during World War II and possibly used to brief officers.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

While the commanding officer (CO, a captain on the Iowa), is in charge of the whole ship, the executive officer (XO) is in charge of day-to-day operations.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Rank has its privileges, and nowhere is that more obvious than where sailors sleep. Two in this room, but FAR more space than lower ranks. Some higher-ranking officers have their own room.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Quite nice, considering.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

You can't access the below decks on the Iowa, but this gives you some idea of how high up you area, relative to the keel, when you're on the main deck.

The crew would use this to get powder bags for the guns up from the magazine.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Like all big ships, the Iowa has multiple bridges, including the navigation bridge, the flag bridge and others (all seen here, but we'll get to them a little later in the tour).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

During the war, the Iowa transported President Roosevelt across the Atlantic to meet with Churchill, Stalin and other Allied leaders. During that time he used the captain's in-port cabin including this, the wardroom (the captain used his at-sea cabins).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Oddly shaped, but spacious. The captain wouldn't have spent much time here while the ship was at sea.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

This tub, the first of its kind on a Navy vessel, was installed specifically for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but kept by later captains.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The Iowa'ssecondary battery was 10 of these twin 5-inch cannons.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Fourteen men would fit in here to fire the two guns. Even more were in the decks below handling shells and gunpowder bags. All working in unison, each gun could fire 15-20 times per minute.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The big boilers far below would vent up through here. Running all out, the Iowa could do 38 mph (61 kph).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

As beautiful as it is practical, the decking of the Iowa is teak.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

One of the main differences between the Iowa and the other ships in her class, is the flag bridge. This allows the Iowa to function as a flagship for an Admiral.

Note the heavily armored conning tower. Seventeen inches of steel.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

While running a battlegroup, the admiral has a big staff, many of whom were in this room. They gathered data, monitored the situation, helped figure out tactics and so on.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Though exposed, this space behind the bridge offers a far more expansive view. The CIWS (close-in weapon system) offers close-in support (we'll get a closer look a little later).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The navigation bridge on the Iowa is U-shaped, with large windows.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

What most fictional ships hide is all the wires and tubes that let a vessel function. Since you never know what might go wrong and when, having access is key. Note the curve of the armored conning tower on the right.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

This is where the helmsman steered the Iowa. If the ship came under fire, the command staff would squeeze in here. The helmsman couldn't see out very well. Instead he just followed the orders of those who could.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The bridge is a surprisingly open space. Great views are offered, but with the cost of feeling rather exposed.

The turret you see closest to the bridge is the No. 2, which suffered an explosion that claimed 47 lives.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The Iowa had 20 commanding officers during her 227 months of active duty.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

This is the slit the sailor driving the ship used to "see" where he was going. As in, not much at all.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The 1980s crew called this the dashboard. To the right is part of the AN/SLQ-32(V)3 electronic warfare suite, which helps protect against missiles. Other parts are visible in the next slide.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The turret on the right is fire control for the 5-inch turrets. Parts of the AN/SLQ-32 are farther up on the superstructure.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Also known as "R2-D2," the CIWS cannons would throw up a wall of lead against incoming projectiles. 4,500 rounds per minute. Amazing weapons.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

These launchers would throw up bundles of chaff to confuse the radar of enemy weapons.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Another addition during its '80s refit, there are eight harpoon antiship missiles on each side.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The big addition during the last refit was 32 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Half the containers are replicas, but those on this deck are original.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The launcher boxes were hydraulically raised to firing position. There were three different versions of the Tomahawk: Antiship, land-attack and land-attack nuclear.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The view aft, from near the armored box launchers, over the No. 3 turret, to the fantail, the World Cruise Center, and the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the distance.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

These are what the crew bunks looked like after the '80s refit. Before that were five-high canvas "slings" that hung from the ceiling on chains.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The curtains added a little privacy, and straps could be fastened so you didn't roll out. The little boxes (upper left) were respitory aids in case of an emergency.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

This is the other side of the wall from the last photo. Because there were nearly 1,000 fewer men on board in the '80s, there was a little bit more free space. This area held 62 in WWII and Korea, and 42 in the '80s.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

This is the quarters of Command Master Chief Petty Officer "Bobby" Scott, who served 5.5 of his 40 years in the Navy on the Iowa.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

One of two chow lines. During WWII the galley crew would prepare over 8,000 meals a day. Even with the reduced complement in the '80s it was still over 5,000 a day.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Like all big ships, in addition to the galleys there was a separate bakery. Oddly, it still smelled vaguly like fresh bread when I was there.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The huge mess is the largest open space you can visit on the ship.

What you see is actually only half the original space; the other half is now sort of museum within a museum.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

This is part of one of the Iowa's original gun barrels. Note the rifling.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

In the '80s this was used for helicopters. In WWII, floatplanes. There were two catapults here as well, launching Kingfishers at the start of the war, and Seahawks by the end.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Though it's a fast tour, it's a good one, especially when aided by the official app for Android and iOS. There are even special guided tours occasionally that give access to parts of the ship currently inaccessible during a normal visit. For more info, check out its website.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
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