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Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States of America on the rolling hills between the Mississippi River and the Missouri River. The state is the center of one of the Earth’s most productive agricultural regions. Admitted to the Union on December 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th State. Iowa ranks 26th in total area and 30th in population among the 50 states. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 3,007,856 in 2009. Des Moines is the capital, most populous city, and center of the most populous metropolitan area of Iowa.

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USS Wisconsin (BB-64) prepares to fire her 16 inch (406 mm) guns sometime after her 1986 modernization

The Iowa-class battleships were a class of fast battleships ordered by the United States Navy in 1939 and 1940 to escort the Fast Carrier Task Forces that would operate in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Six were ordered during the course of World War II, but only four were completed in time to see service in the Pacific Theater. The last two had been laid down, but as a result of the post war draw down of the armed forces they were canceled prior to completion and eventually scrapped. Like other third generation American battleships, the Iowa class was a departure from the traditionally held role of the battleship of engaging other battleships in a line of battle. Conceived, constructed, and commissioned at a time of changing naval strategy, the Iowa class was built with an intended role of defending United States aircraft carriers from enemy attack rather than for engaging in battleship on battleship gunfights. To this end, these battleships followed the design pattern set forth in the preceding North Carolina-class and South Dakota-class battleships, which placed great emphasis on speed as well as the secondary and anti-aircraft batteries. The Iowa-class battleships served in every major U.S. war of the mid and latter half of the 20th century. In World War II, they defended aircraft carriers and shelled Japanese positions before being placed in reserve at the end of the war. Recalled for action during the Korean War, the battleships provided seaborne artillery support for United Nations forces fighting against North Korea. In 1968, New Jersey was recalled for action in the Vietnam War and shelled Viet Cong and Vietnam People's Army military forces. All four were reactivated and armed with missiles during the 1980s as part of the 600-ship Navy initiative, and in 1991 Missouri and Wisconsin fired missiles and 16-inch (406 mm) guns at Iraqi targets during the First Gulf War. Citing the impending end of the Cold War and the sizable operating expense, the United States Navy decommissioned all four battleships in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 2001 and 2006 sister ships New Jersey and Wisconsin became the second and third battleships of the class to open as a museum ships, respectively. The fourth ship - Iowa - has yet to donated; she was to have become a museum ship in San Francisco, California, but due in part to political differences between the non profit and San Francisco's city council the original museum ship plans fell through. Iowa remains berthed in the Suisun Bay reserve fleet in Suisun Bay, California, pending the outcome of a renewed round of bidding for the battleship.

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Serranus Clinton Hastings
Serranus Clinton Hastings (November 22, 1814 – February 18, 1893) was a 19th-century politician and a prominent lawyer in the United States. He studied law as a young man and moved to the Iowa District in 1837 to open a law office. Iowa became a territory a year later, and he was elected a member of the House of Representatives of the Iowa Territorial General Assembly. When the territory became the state of Iowa in 1846, he won an election to represent the state in the United States House of Representatives. After his term ended, he became Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court. He resigned after one year in office and moved to California. He was appointed the California Supreme Court as Chief Justice a few months later. He won an election to be Attorney General of California, and assumed office shortly after his term as Chief Justice ended. He began practicing law again as Attorney General. He earned a small fortune with his law practice and used that fortune to finance his successful real estate venture. In 1878, he founded the Hastings College of the Law with a donation of US$100,000.

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Herbert Clark Hoover by Greene, 1956.jpg
The 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch, Iowa.
Official presidential portrait by Elmer Wesley Greene
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