The Long History of the Iowa
USS Iowa began her career in 1943 and served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt's transportation to the Tehran Conference where the Western Allies and Soviet Union agreed to force an unconditional surrender on the part of Germany, and completely destroy the German government and state as it currently existed. She was also held in reserve against the threat posed by the Tirpitz, which at the time was stationed in Norway as a fleet-in-being and a potential threat to Allied convoys bound for the Soviet port of Murmansk.
But the danger posed by Tirpitz and other German surface ships waned as the war turned against the Axis, and Iowa was soon transferred to the Pacific. There she fulfilled her role as a fast, heavy escort to US aircraft carriers, and used her powerful anti-aircraft armament to screen these and other ships from Japanese air attack. In addition she was used as a bombardment platform attacking shore based targets of tactical and strategic importance, as well as a blocking ship to help keep Japanese vessels from escaping to the open sea. In this role she helped sink a Japanese cruiser and shot down numerous aircraft, and bombarded targets from the central Pacific and the Philippines to the Japanese Home Islands themselves. She was present in Tokyo Bay during the Japanese surrender that ended World War II, and her sister ship, the USS Missouri, was the site of that historic event that ended the bloodiest conflict in history.
Iowa also served with distinction in Korea, shelling North Korean targets in support of the US and UN forces that were locked in a bloody stalemate along the Korean peninsula. She was also used in flag showing operations in the Mediterranean and in NATO exercises in the North Atlantic before being deactivated and sent to the reserves in the 1950s.
There she and her sisters languished for over 20 years, until a US naval buildup in the 1980s led to their reactivation and intensive modernization. There most of the old style anti-aircraft armament was removed and replaced with Phalanx point defense gatlings, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and Tomahawk cruise missiles. The latter were fired by Missouri and Wisconsin against Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, and their massive 16" guns opened up on Iraqi positions near to the Persian Gulf as part of a deception meant to convince Iraq that a Marine landing on its short coast was in the works.