USS Iowa, lead ship of a class of 45,000-ton battleships, was built at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York. Commissioned in February 1943, she spent her initial service in the Atlantic and carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt to and from Casablanca, Morocco, in November 1943. Early in January 1944, Iowa steamed to the Pacific, where she took part in the Marshalls Campaign later in that month and in February. From then until the end of 1944, she was actively involved in raids against Japanese facilities and campaigns to capture the Marianas, the Palaus and Leyte, including participation in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf.
After overhaul in early 1945, Iowa returned to the western Pacific for the Okinawa campaign and the final operations against Japan. She was present in Tokyo Bay during the formal surrender of Japan on 2 September 1945. She returned to the United States later in that month and operated with the Pacific Fleet until she was decommissioned in March 1949.
The Korean War brought Iowa back into active service. She was recommissioned in August 1951 and made a combat deployment to Korean waters in April-October 1952, during which time she served as Seventh Fleet flagship. Upon return to the U.S., she was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet. Over the next several years, Iowa made several European cruises and was present for the International Naval Review in Hampton Roads, Virginia, in June 1957. She was decommissioned in February 1958.
After two and a half decades in "mothballs", Iowa was modernized under the 1980s defense buildup and recommissioned in April 1984. She went to European waters in 1985, 1986 and 1987-88, with the latter cruise continuing into the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. A fire in her second sixteen-inch gun turret killed 47 crewmen on 19 April 1989, but Iowa was still able to deploy to Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in mid-year. Turret two remained unrepaired when she decommissioned for the last time in October 1990.