The hot summers of 1980 and 1981 witnessed a fierce debate in Congress over the proposal to reactivate the Iowa (BB-61)-class battleships, starting with the USS New Jersey (BB-62). A nucleus of civilians, naval aviators, surface officers, and Marines—with strong support from the Commandant, General Robert Barrow—provided sympathetic congressional leaders the rationale needed to win the argument. The effort was underpinned by the need for all-weather fire support from a warship that could engage successfully protected targets located in the littoral ribbons of the world. The ships’ 16-inch guns were ideal, and the heavily armored ship could tolerate encounters with mines, missiles, or torpedoes. An added attraction was the potential for launching cruise missiles.
Not So Fast
By C. E. Myers, Jr.