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USS IOWA PLANS 1ST MISSION SINCE FATAL BLAST

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The battleship USS Iowa will leave on Wednesday for a training cruise in the northern Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea, its first mission since an explosion killed 47 crewmen six weeks ago.

The Iowa will not use its No. 2 gun turret, which was damaged in the April 19 blast during gunnery exercises off Puerto Rico."All other systems on the ship, including the weapons systems and the engineering plant, are in excellent condition and fully capable of supporting upcoming operations," the Navy said in a statement Monday.

The Iowa will leave the Norfolk Naval Station with the guided missile cruisers USS Ticonderoga and USS Bainbridge and the fleet oiler USS Merrimack. The guided missile frigate USS Fahrion will leave from Charleston, S.C.

After the training, the Iowa will head to the Mediterranean Sea.