SAN PEDRO (CBS) — The opening of the USS Iowa as a permanent floating museum in the Port of Los Angeles has stirred emotions and brought back memories for some who served on the legendary battleship.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz spoke with Gary Avery who attended Saturday’s opening of the 889-foot museum in San Pedro.

Avery served two years on the vessel right before the 1989 explosion on Turrett II which killed 47 crew members, most of whom he’d known.

“It’s tough. It’s really tough,” he said. “We lost a lot of guys too. Just sitting here reminiscing about all of the things that have happened on there. People
that I’ve served with. Pretty touching,”

He and his wife were in Hawaii but rearranged their schedules to make it to the opening, Mertz reported. They live in Jacksonville, Florida.

“It was very moving because this was the first time that we have seen Turrett II since the explosion. I like the memorial, remembering all of the sailors and marines who died there,” she said.

They say they will be back.

“I think the organization has done a great job with getting it ready for this first day. Obviously they have a long way to go and I wish them a lot of luck on that,” he added.

The ship, which was built in 1940 and decommissioned in 1990, served in World War II as well as the Korean and Gulf wars.


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