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This Day In History, April 19th, 2022 – “Explosion on the U.S.S. Iowa”


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It was 33 years ago today, April 19, 1989, when tragedy struck the battleship U.S.S. Iowa when the number two-gun turret exploded, killing 47 American sailors. Two investigations, one by the Navy, the other by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) came to separate conclusions. The Navy blamed a sailor who had died in the explosion, gunners mate Clayton Hartwig, whom the Navy clamed was suicidal and caused the explosion with a detonator.

this day in history signals az april 19

Flag at half-mast for the 47 sailors lost in the explosion. Image courtesy of Wikicommons, Public Domain.

The GAO tried to dispute the Navy’s findings, and claimed that an overram of powder bags into the gun tube could have caused the explosion. In the end, there is still not definite conclusion as to what happened. Death in peace time and training occur more often than one would believe. On this day we remember 47 sailors of the U.S.S. Iowa.

What was happening yesterday, on April 18th?


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