USS Iowa (BB-61) : USS Iowa’s Curator David Way on her history

USS Iowa (BB-61) : USS Iowa’s Curator David Way on her history

USS Iowa (BB-61) : USS Iowa’s Curator David Way on her history

Dave Way 

MAY 12, 2012. RICHMOND, CA. David Way, Tour Manager and Curator with the Pacific Battleship Center stands at the ship’s bell on the bow of the U.S.S. Iowa in Richmond, CA, on May 12, 2012. The Huntington Beach resident has been living on the ship for 7 months, helping to coordinate the ship’s restoration and moving of the ship to the Port of Los Angeles. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

Dave currently resides in Huntington Beach Ca. Born in Bush Colorado, known for The Brush Rodeo, the largest amateur rodeo in the world. Dave’s father worked in the oil industry, so he grew up in Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, and California. His formative school years were spent in Long Beach attending Wilson High School, Long Beach City College, and Cal State Long Beach, graduating with a Business Management degree, plus a History Degree. 

Dave used his business education in the aerospace industry for 29 years, and describes the aerospace industry as “Long hours, stressful, and demanding work, not sure if I could return to that”. He worked on Rockwell’s Space Shuttle program for 15 years as a financial analyst.  “I was fortunate working on this long-running programs”, adds Dave. Dave also spent 7 years on the Sea Launch program, a private satellite launch provider which placed satellites into geosynchronous equatorial orbits from the equator at sea, with US / Boeing, Russian, and Ukrainian launch companies. Back with the Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, he worked with the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) for 7 years. 

Dave has a passion for naval history. His first job, at age 16, was on the Queen Mary and he worked there for the following 11 years before starting his aerospace career.  He worked in ticket sales, was a tour guide and British Bobbie, and lastly the Administrative Assistant to the General Manager, (during which time he earned his two degrees). He was involved with the early investigation on obtaining the USS New Jersey BB-62 as a museum ship in Southern California. To support the US Navy as a civilian, he has been a member of the Navy League of the United States and the United States Naval Institute since 1979. 

Dave is battleship IOWA’s Curator and Historian.  He left his Boeing career in 2011 to help save IOWA, the last remaining battleship in the world, from being scrapped and wound up living on IOWA for nine months while she was docked at the Port of Richmond. The IOWA was towed from Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet Benicia, arriving at Berth 3 in the Port of Richmond in 2011. While living on the ship he worked as IOWA’s Tour Manager and helped establish a small ship museum on the pier for the visitors.  

Dave is proud of his contribution to researching and curating the history of the IOWA while facilitating the sharing of the ship’s history and stories. He is particularly proud of several contributions unlocking the accurate history of the IOWA. Dave has completed an extensive timeline of IOWA’s history which tracks her activities for some years down to a daily basis.  This information was based on her official war diaries and logs.

Two elevators or one for FDR on the IOWA? Dave found photographic history that shows two elevators positioned off the Captain’s In Port Cabin that were specially installed for FDR’s transit to and from North Africa for the Tehran Conference. Mr. Way “concluded this must be a picture of Iowa (BB-61) in Mers-el-Kabir. It looks like there is a French battleship in the background. Plus, the camo paint job is correct on Iowa and her paint looks like she has cruised a long distance”. This was quite an important discovery, seeing that the US government censored all photos of the battleship during the President’s voyage. The press releases carried; “description and photograph provided courtesy of Pacific Battleship Center – Battleship USS Iowa Curator Dave Way”.  Dave also found on eBay a Brownie camera photograph of FDR’s departure speech on the IOWA after returning from his trip to Mers-el-Kabir. The photo is in the Captains In Port Cabin and is a key artifact to the President’s Tour. 

Dave discovered that much of the IOWA’s Korean service history had never been fully reported and found that her Korean War Diaries were still sealed in the National Archives.  Dave submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) application for the disclosure and opening of the IOWA’s Korean service records. Once opened, the records provided a tremendous amount of new information regarding IOWA’s contribution during the Korean conflict.  In detail the; “who, what, when, and why” was found. What turret fired, how many rounds were fired, when were the rounds fired, and who was being targeted, etc. In addition, there were records of various visiting dignitaries who came aboard the IOWA; Admirals, Generals, elected officials, and the President of Korea (twice). The IOWA fired twice as many 16-inch and 5-inch projectiles during her 7 month Korea War deployment than in all of her WWII service.  Dave feels this 7-month deployment was one of her greatest achievements. 

Dave added that the ship’s museum has collected many generic Naval items, including over 900 picture postcards (ppc) that have been scanned and stored digitally.  Some of the post cards came from individual’s donated scrapbooks full of ppc’s.  “I find the turn of the century / c1900 colorized ones remarkably interesting”.   

USS Iowa’s Curator David Way on her history!

USS Iowa (BB-61) : USS Iowa’s Curator David Way on her history

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