Battleship Gun Barrel to Get Second Life in Virginia Beach

By STACY PARKER, The Virginian-Pilot

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A battleship gun barrel utilized by the Navy in WWII that appeared destined for the scrapyard will get a second life in Virginia Seaside.

A nonprofit group devoted to preserving U.S. protection tools, Coast Protection Examine Group, plans to relocate the historic armament to Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story at Cape Henry quickly.

The 120-ton gun barrel, which was used on the USS Iowa battleship, is the final of 9 that remained at a storage facility in Chesapeake. It fired projectiles weighing 1,900 to 2,700 kilos with a variety of as much as 24 miles.

The Navy introduced the USS Iowa, in addition to the group of Iowa-class battleships, again into service within the Eighties however retired the gun barrels completely a decade later.

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In 2011, when the Navy was getting ready to purge its stock from the battleships, the nonprofit stepped in to search out the barrels new houses. They enlisted the assistance of veterans teams and different organizations to protect most of them, which at the moment are on show at memorials and parks in numerous states.

“They’re historic artifacts,” mentioned Terry McGovern, spokesperson for Coast Protection Examine Group. “Why simply lower them up into chunks of metal?”

Right here in Hampton Roads, McGovern is working with the veteran’s group related to the USS Iowa to relocate the final barrel. It’s no small feat. Lifting and transporting the barrel, which is 68 toes lengthy, would require particular permits and tools.

The USS Iowa battleship was primarily based in Norfolk. The veterans group wished to relocate it to the USS Iowa Memorial at Naval Station Norfolk, which is devoted to the 47 sailors who died throughout an unintended turret explosion whereas coaching in 1989.

Nevertheless, restricted public entry to that naval set up, and unfavorable soil situations for displaying it there, compelled the group to look elsewhere.

Fort Story, the place guests take excursions of the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse, was chosen as an alternative. Plans are underway for the battleship barrel and two 16-inch projectiles to be displayed in a discipline subsequent to the lighthouse parking zone.

The positioning will function signage concerning the USS Iowa and its heritage.

“We’re glad to offer it a house,” mentioned Capt. Michael Witherspoon, commander of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. “All this historical past to take a seat in a single location goes to make it a fairly superb place.”

Cape Henry is the location of the First Touchdown, when the English settlers arrived in 1607, earlier than shifting on to Jamestown. The unique Cape Henry Lighthouse, licensed by George Washington, was the primary federally funded public works undertaking of the newly shaped U.S. authorities.

Fort Story has deep roots in Virginia Seaside, too. It grew to become a navy set up in 1914. In WWII, American troopers at Fort Story defended the Virginia coast and the doorway to the Chesapeake Bay.

McGovern thinks it’s a pure match. The barrel was the primary one produced for the Iowa-class ships throughout WWII, and was mounted to the ship’s most important turret in 1942. After the ship returned from Korea in 1955, the barrel was eliminated.

Thus far, roughly $100,000 has been raised for the undertaking, which might be used to color, transport and show the barrel. McGovern is making an attempt to boost an extra $50,000.

“Including a 16-inch barrel to the present memorial space at Fort Story will honor the veterans that defended our homeland in each WWI and WWII, and can permit Fort Story guests to expertise the huge measurement and energy of those coast artillery weapons,” he mentioned.

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