Nuclear Cruisers And Battleships: Check Out This Reagan Era Navy Photo

Illustration for article titled Nuclear Cruisers And Battleships: Check Out This Reagan Era Navy Photo

Two refit Iowa Class battleships, the nuclear guided missile cruiser USS Long Beach, a Spruance Class destroyer and what looks like a pair of Knox Class frigates all churn through the ocean as a wall of haze-gray painted steel. All of these ships have since been retired but the exotic mix of classes that made up Reagan's '600 ship navy' is still an awesome sight to behold.

Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address

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OK Tyler, now you are talking. And, it is something that is not only dear to me, but a topic that I have studied for over 50 years and I have accumulated a vast library of books on the Iowa class battleships. When President Reagan and Secretary of the Navy John Lehman proposed bringing back all four Iowas, I was beside myself. Having seen how devastating they were in WW2, Korea and Viet Nam, I was overjoyed at seeing those 16" 50 caliber guns firing in anger again. Seeing the old vets for one last time on station off of the coast of Iraq as well as firing the first cruise missile made for many smiles. My favorite pic of an Iowa class and actually the Iowa itself firing a broadside of 9-16" 50 caliber guns:

New Jersey firing from both broadsides: