Revitalized USS Iowa Battleship barrel moving to final resting spot in Virginia

The barrel's transportation comes after organizations put in years of work to honor veterans. The move itself will impact major roads in Hampton Roads.
WTVR via Marine Specialty Painting/Amy Marchigiani
USS Iowa’s gun barrel
USS Iowa’s gun barrel
USS Iowa’s gun barrel
AJ Marchigiani and Chief Lewis
Posted at 4:45 PM, May 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-21 16:45:48-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The revitalization of USS Iowa Battleship Barrel #270 is complete, and it’s now ready to be moved to its final resting spot at Fort Story.

The Veteran’s Association of USS Iowa, the Coast Defense Study Group and the US Navy Region Mid-Atlantic collaborated to iron out details for the move. The organizations say the barrel, which spans almost 70 feet and weighs nearly 120 tons, will be transported to JEB Fort Story in Virginia Beach using streets throughout Hampton Roads.

Plans for the gun barrel’s movement to Fort Story and its display location have been in the works for years, the groups say.

Local efforts also made the gun barrel’s final display possible: The historic barrel was revitalized by Marine Specialty Painting (MSP) in Portsmouth.

WTVR via Marine Specialty Painting/Amy Marchigiani

Local News

Revitalizing USS Iowa gun barrel is 'personal' for Navy veteran

Madeline Miller
9:08 PM, Mar 11, 2023

MSP’s President and CEO, AJ Marchigiani, has a personal connection to the historic battleship. During his time in the Navy, he served on the USS Iowa. He said he was aboard the ship in April of 1989 when a gun turret exploded, tragically killing 47 Sailors.

Alfred “AJ” Marchigiani
A photo of Alfred “AJ” Marchigiani in the Navy. Marchigiani is the President & CEO of Marine Specialty Painting (MSP). MSP revitalized USS Iowa's barrel for free.

Marchigiani felt compelled to take on the revitalization project, which MSP did for free, to honor those who lost their lives on the ship.

“My personal connection to this battleship and the lives lost, inspired me to volunteer for this restoration project,” said Marchigiani. “The USS Iowa is a critical part of American military history and it’s my duty as a veteran of the U.S. Navy that it gets the recognition and visibility it deserves.”

People also paid homage to the Sailors who died during the tragic incident at the USS Iowa 34th Commemoration Ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk last month.

USS Iowa 34th Commemoration Ceremony

USS Iowa’s gun barrel will be displayed at Fort Story alongside similar barrels, according to those involved with the project. In addition to honoring USS Iowa veterans, the display also aims to recognize Navy veterans who served on ships homeported in the Hampton Roads area and US Army veterans who provided coastal defense at the military base during WWII.

On Monday, May 22 at 9 p.m., the process of moving the barrel from MSP to Cape Henry will begin. From Portsmouth, it will pass through the streets and highways of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

The move will impact traffic on major roads, including I-264, I-64 and Pacific Avenue.

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