2 Calif groups battle for historic Navy ship

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The USS Iowa supported U.S. forces fighting the Japanese during World War II and helped tankers safely navigate the Persian Gulf in the Iran-Iraq War.

Though the ship has long since been out of service, its final battle is still being waged. Two California nonprofits — one in the San Francisco Bay area, the other in Los Angeles — are vying to host the decommissioned ship as a tourist attraction. The Navy is expected to make a decision within a few months.

Fights over such ships, although not unprecedented, are generally confined to the most coveted of vessels. A group that wanted the USS Missouri — site of Japan's surrender in Tokyo Bay during World War II — to remain moored in Bremerton, Wash. sued the Navy in 1998 when the ship was awarded to the Honolulu-based USS Missouri Memorial Association. A federal court later dismissed the suit.

The Iowa, known as "The Big Stick," was part of the same class of battleships as the Missouri....

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