DES MOINES — A bill just starting to navigate its way through the Iowa legislature would provide $200,000 in state tax money to support the commissioning of a Navy submarine bearing the state’s name.
The USS Iowa is a nuclear powered submarine that’s under construction in Connecticut. Captain Quintin James, commander of the USS Iowa, spoke to legislators this week.
“She will be powered by a S9G reactor, which is a life-of-the-ship powerplant,” James said in the Iowa House, “so she will represent this great state for the next three decades.”
Once the USS Iowa is in service, it will spend most of its time three stories below the surface of the world’s oceans.
“We will make our own water. We will make our own air. The only limiting factor for us will be our ability to load food, so at some point we’ll have to come up (for provisions),” James said. “But the crew is extremely excited about representing the state and feels kinship.”
Some of the 135 crew members assigned to the USS Iowa started visiting the state in 2019 and a few spent this past Thanksgiving in Iowa with host families. State Representative Todd Prichard of Charles City is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, however his dad and two uncles served in the Navy and Prichard noted this will be the fourth U.S. Navy vessel to be christened the U.S.S. Iowa.
“This is a proud tradition for our state,” Prichard said, “and this is just a new way for us to continue that tradition of quiet service.”
Prichard is a member of the House subcommittee that gave initial approval to spending $200,000 in state money on the U.S.S. Iowa. Private fundraising is underway as well to raise more than twice that much. The state and private funds will being used to outfit the USS Iowa with some Iowa-themed furnishings and support the formal ceremonies surrounding its launch later this year.