NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The city of Norfolk officially took over stewardship of the decommissioned Iowa-class battleship, USS Wisconsin (BB-64), during a ceremony at The National Maritime Center on April 16.
The ceremony took place 65 years after the ship was first commissioned into naval service April 16, 1944.
"As we incrementally open up this Navy icon for public viewing, it will be our awesome responsibility to bring this grand ship's history to life," said Hank Lynch, executive director of Nauticus.
Wisconsin has been berthed at Nauticus, a maritime-themed science center, since Dec. 7, 2000, but still maintained by the Navy until this ceremony. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2006, battleships must be maintained in case it must be recommissioned for Navy usage. Transfer of the ship to Norfolk ends that requirement for the Wisconsin. The Navy had paid approximately $2.8 million to the city of Norfolk to maintain the ship between 2000-2009.
Audio tours lead guests through decks of the ship to demonstrate the workings of one of the Navy's last and largest battleships.
"Our responsibility is to preserve and protect your ship; to insure that your legacy of duty, honor and country endures and inspires future generations of Americans," said Paul D. Fraim, mayor of Norfolk.
Several former crew members were in attendance for the ceremony, along with distinguished guests and active duty Sailors.
Wisconsin served in Adm. William F. Halsey's 3rd Fleet during the liberation of the Philippines, supported the amphibious landings on Iwo Jima and Okinawa and transported GIs back to the United States during Operation Magic Carpet at the end of World War II.
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