SAN PEDRO, California -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa thanked the residents of Iowa and assured them the USS Iowa will be taken care of at its new home in the Port of Los Angeles on Wednesday.
With the conclusion of the ceremony, the USS Iowa was officially dedicated as a museum in San Pedro. The 45 thousand ton battleship is expected to eventually attract up to 500 thousand visitors annually.
Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin both were on hand for the ceremony. In February Governor Branstad signed a bill pledging $3 million dollars in support of the project.
"The USS Iowa was the worlds greatest naval ship'" Branstad said.
An estimated 600 former crew members were on hand for the ceremony. Cedar Rapids resident and former USS Iowa veteran Melvin Rhodes took part in the dedication by standing in formation.
"It's pretty exciting," Rhodes said. "I think people will come see it."
President George H.W. Bush sent a letter of congratulations, which Governor Branstad read to the crowd of a few thousand invited guests.
"Congratulations on this milestone achievement," the former President wrote.
The event attracted media from as far away as China.