Death on A Dreadnought

A blast kills 47 and reignites debate over the battleship's role

The battleship Iowa is believed to have made it through World War II and the Korean War without a single officer or crew member being killed in combat. But last week, in one of the worst accidents in recent U.S. military history, an explosion in the second gun turret of the 46-year-old vessel took the lives of 47 young sailors. At week's end investigators were still trying to determine the cause of the blast as the Iowa steamed toward its home port of Norfolk, Va. Defective electrical wiring, a damaged firing mechanism in the ship's gun system or even an errant...

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