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USS Missouri (BB-63)

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USS Missouri

Career Missing image
USN-Jack.png
USN Jack

Ordered:12 June 1940
Laid down:6 January 1941
Launched:29 January 1944
Commissioned:11 June 1944
Decommissioned (Final):31 March 1992
Fate:Memorial
General Characteristics
Displacement:45,000 t empty
58,000 t full
Length:887 ft 3 in (270.4 m)
Beam:108 ft 2 in (32.98 m)
Draft:38 ft (11.6 m)
Speed:33 knots (61 km/h)
Complement:1,851
Armament:
1943 9 16 in (406 mm) 50 cal. Mark 7 guns
20 5 in (127 mm) 38 cal. Mark 12 guns
80 40 mm, 56 cal. Anti-Aircraft guns
49 20 mm, 70 cal. Anti-Aircraft guns
1950 9 16 in (406 mm) 50 cal. Mark 7 guns
20 5 in (127 mm) 38 cal. Mark 12 guns
1986 9 16 in (406 mm) 50 cal. Mark 7 guns
12 5 in (127 mm) 38 cal. Mark 12 guns
32 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles
16 RGM-84 Harpoon Anti-Ship missiles
4 20 mm, 76 cal. CIWS

USS Missouri (BB-63) is a United States Navy battleship, notable as both the last battleship to be built by the United States, and as the site of the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. She is presently a museum ship at Pearl Harbor.

She was one of the Iowa-class "fast battleship" designs planned in 1938 by the Preliminary Design Branch at the Bureau of Construction and Repair. Missouri was ordered on 12 June 1940 and her keel was laid at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York on 6 January 1941. She was launched on 29 January 1944 and commissioned on June 11 as BB-63. The ship was the fourth and last of the Iowa class to be launched as well as the final battleship to be commissioned by the Navy.

At her launching in 1944, the ship was christened by her ship's sponsor: Mary Margaret Truman, daughter of Harry S. Truman, then a senator from Missouri.

Contents

World War II

After trials off New York and shakedown and battle practice in Chesapeake Bay, Missouri departed Norfolk 11 November 1944, transited the Panama Canal 18 November and steamed to San Francisco for final fitting out as fleet flagship. She stood out of San Francisco Bay 14 December and arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Christmas Eve 1944. She departed Hawaii on 2 January 1945 and arrived in Ulithi, West Caroline Islands, 13 January 1945. There she was temporary headquarters ship for Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher. The battleship put to sea 27 January to serve in the screen of the Lexington carrier task group of Mitscher's TF 58, and on 16 February her aircraft carriers launched the first air strikes against Japan since the famed Doolittle raid, that had been launched from carrier Hornet in April 1942.

Missouri then steamed with the carriers to Iwo Jima where her main guns provided direct and continuous support to the invasion landings begun 19 February. After TF 58 returned to Ulithi 5 March, Missouri was assigned to the Yorktown carrier task group. On 14 March Missouri departed Ulithi in the screen of the fast carriers and steamed to the Japanese mainland. During strikes against targets along the coast of the Inland Sea of Japan beginning 18 March, Missouri splashed four Japanese aircraft.

Raids against airfields and naval bases near the Inland Sea and southwestern Honshu continued. During a Japanese attack, two bombs penetrated the hangar deck and decks aft of carrier Franklin, leaving her dead in the water within 50 miles (80 km) of the Japanese mainland. The cruiser Pittsburgh took Franklin in tow until she gained speed to 14 knots (26 km/h). Missouri's carrier task group provided cover for Franklin's retirement toward Ulithi until 22 March, then set course for pre-invasion strikes and bombardment of Okinawa.

Missouri joined the fast battleships of TF 58 in bombarding the southeast coast of Okinawa 24 March 1945, an action intended to draw enemy strength from the west coast beaches that would be the actual site of invasion landings. Missouri rejoined the screen of the carriers as Marine and Army units stormed the shores of Okinawa on the morning of 1 April. Planes from the carriers shattered a special Japanese attacking force led by battleship Yamato 7 April. Yamato, the world's largest battleship, was sunk, as were a cruiser and a destroyer. Three other enemy destroyers were heavily damaged and scuttled. Four remaining destroyers, sole survivors of the attacking fleet, were damaged and retired to Sasebo.

 A Japanese Zero about to hit the Missouri
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A Japanese Zero about to hit the Missouri

On 11 April Missouri opened fire on a low-flying kamikaze plane which penetrated the curtain of her shells and crashed just below her main deck level. The starboard wing of the plane was thrown far forward, starting a gasoline fire at 5-inch Gun Mount No. 3; yet the battleship suffered only superficial damage, and the fire was brought quickly under control. About 23:05 on 17 April 1945, Missouri detected an enemy submarine 12 miles (19 km) from her formation. Her report set off a hunter-killer operation by the light carrier Bataan and four destroyers, which sank Japanese submarine I-56.

Missouri was detached from the carrier task force off Okinawa 5 May and sailed for Ulithi. During the Okinawa campaign she had shot down five enemy planes, assisted in the destruction of six others, and scored one probable kill. She helped repel 12 daylight attacks of enemy raiders and fought off four night attacks on her carrier task group. Her shore bombardment destroyed several gun emplacements and many other military, governmental, and industrial structures.

Missouri arrived Ulithi 9 May 1945 and thence proceeded to Apra Harbor, Guam, 18 May. That afternoon Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander 3d Fleet, broke his flag in Missouri. She passed out of the harbor 21 May, and by 27 May was again conducting shore bombardment against Japanese positions on Okinawa. Missouri now led the mighty 3d Fleet in strikes on airfields and installations on Kyushu 2 and 3 June. She rode out a fierce storm 5 and 6 June that wrenched off the bow of the cruiser Pittsburgh. Some topside fittings were smashed, but Missouri suffered no major damage. Her fleet again struck Kyushu 8 June, then hit hard in a coordinated air-surface bombardment before retiring towards Leyte. She arrived San Pedro, Leyte, 13 June 1945, after almost three months of continuous operations in support of the Okinawa campaign.

Here she prepared to lead the 3rd Fleet in strikes at the heart of Japan from within its home waters. The mighty fleet set a northerly course 8 July to approach the Japanese mainland. Raids took Tokyo by surprise 10 July, followed by more devastation at the juncture of Honshu and Hokkaido 13 and 14 July. For the first time a naval gunfire force wrought destruction on a major installation within the home islands, when Missouri closed the shore to join in a bombardment 15 July that rained destruction on the Nihon Steel Co. and the Wanishi Ironworks at Muroran, Hokkaido.

During the night of 17–18 July Missouri bombarded industrial targets in the Hichiti area, Honshu. Inland Sea aerial strikes continued through 25 July 1945, and Missouri guarded the carriers as they struck hard blows at the Japanese capital. As July ended the Japanese no longer had any home waters. Missouri had led her fleet to gain control of the air and sea approaches to the very shores of Japan.

Strikes on Hokkaido and northern Honshu resumed 9 August 1945, the day the second atomic bomb was dropped. Next day, at 20:54, Missouri's men were electrified by the unofficial news that Japan was ready to surrender, provided that the Emperor's prerogatives as a sovereign ruler were not compromised. Not until 07:45, 15 August, was word received that President Truman had announced Japan's acceptance of unconditional surrender.

Japanese and American delegates, in the company of Allied commanders, watch the surrender ceremony unfold aboard Missouri on . The unconditional surrender of the Japanese to the  officially ended the .
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Japanese and American delegates, in the company of Allied commanders, watch the surrender ceremony unfold aboard Missouri on 2 September1945. The unconditional surrender of the Japanese to the Allies officially ended the Second World War.

Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser of the Royal Navy, the Commander of the British Pacific Fleet, boarded Missouri 16 August, and conferred the order Knight of the British Empire upon Admiral Halsey. Missouri transferred a landing party of 200 officers and men to the battleship Iowa for temporary duty with the initial occupation force for Tokyo 21 August. Missouri herself entered Tokyo Bay early 29 August to prepare for the formal surrender ceremony. High-ranking military officials of all the Allied Powers were received on board 2 September. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz boarded shortly after 08:00, and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allies, came on board at 08:43. The Japanese representatives, headed by Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, arrived at 08:56. At 09:02 General MacArthur stepped before a battery of microphones and the 23-minute surrender ceremony was broadcast to the waiting world. By 09:30 the Japanese emissaries had departed. The afternoon of 5 September Admiral Halsey transferred his flag to the battleship South Dakota, and early the next day Missouri departed Tokyo Bay. She received homeward bound passengers at Guam, then sailed unescorted for Hawaii. She arrived Pearl Harbor 20 September and flew Admiral Nimitz's flag on the afternoon of 28 September for a reception.

1946 – 1950

The next day, Missouri departed Pearl Harbor bound for the eastern seaboard of the United States. She reached New York City 23 October 1945 and broke the flag of Atlantic Fleet commander Admiral Jonas Ingram. Four days later, Missouri boomed out a 21-gun salute as President Truman boarded for Navy Day ceremonies.

After an overhaul in the New York Naval Shipyard and a training cruise to Cuba, Missouri returned to New York. The afternoon of 21 March 1946, she received the remains of the Turkish Ambassador to the United States, Melmet Munir Ertegun. She departed 22 March for Gibraltar and 5 April anchored in the Bosphorus off Istanbul. She rendered full honors, including the firing of 19-gun salutes during the transfer of the remains of the late Ambassador and again during the funeral ashore. Missouri departed Istanbul 9 April and entered Phaleron Bay, Piraeus, Greece, the following day to an effusive welcome by Greek government officials and citizens. The battleship had arrived in a year when Greece had become the scene of a Communist-inspired civil war, just one of the ways the Soviet Union was seeking greater influence in the Balkans and Mediterranean region.

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Missouri moves through the Panama Canal en route to the United States in October 1945.

The voyage of Missouri to the eastern Mediterranean comforted Greece and Turkey. News media proclaimed her a symbol of U.S. interest in preserving both nations' liberty.

Missouri departed Piraeus 26 April, touching at Algiers and Tangiers before arriving Norfolk 9 May. She departed for Culebra Island 12 May to join Admiral Mitscher's 8th Fleet in the Navy's first large-scale postwar Atlantic training maneuvers. The battleship returned to New York City 27 May, and spent the next year steaming Atlantic coastal waters north to the Davis Strait and south to the Caribbean on various Atlantic command training exercises.

Missouri arrived in Rio de Janeiro 30 August 1947 for the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Hemisphere Peace and Security. President Truman boarded 2 September to celebrate the signing of the Rio Treaty, which broadened the Monroe Doctrine by stipulating that an attack on one of the signatory American states would be considered an attack on all.

The Truman family boarded Missouri 7 September 1947 to return to the United States and debarked at Norfolk 19 September. Her overhaul in New York—which lasted from 23 September to 10 March 1948—was followed by refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. The summer of 1948 was devoted to midshipman and reserve training cruises. The battleship departed Norfolk 1 November for a second 3-week Arctic cold-weather training cruise to the Davis Strait. During the next two years, Missouri participated in Atlantic command exercises from the New England coast to the Caribbean, alternated with two midshipman summer training cruises. She was overhauled at Norfolk Naval Shipyard from 23 September 1949 to 17 January 1950.

Now the only U.S. battleship in commission, Missouri was proceeding seaward on a training mission from Hampton Roads early on 17 January when she ran aground 1.6 miles (3 km) from Thimble Shoals Light, near Old Point Comfort. She hit shoal water a distance of three ship lengths from the main channel. Lifted some seven feet above waterline, she stuck hard and fast. With the aid of tugs, pontoons, and an incoming tide, she was refloated on 1 February 1950. The ship was eventually repaired. But like most vessels in the post-WWII fleet, the Missouri was seen as a liability more than an asset, so the Navy began to prepare her for decommissioning. At the last second, President Truman learned of the Navy's decision. Truman—formerly a senator from the state of Missouri—issued an executive order stating that as long as he remained the President of the United States the battleship Missouri would remain an active part of the fleet. Ironically, this order worked in the Navy's favor.

The Korean War

In 1950, the North Korean government invaded South Korea in an effort to unify the nation. The United States intervened in the name of the United Nations. Missouri was called up from the Atlantic fleet and dispatched from Norfolk on 19 August to support U.N. forces on the Korean peninsula.

Missouri joined the U.N. just west of Kyushu on 14 September, where it became the flagship of Rear Admiral A. E. Smith. The first American battleship to reach Korean waters, she bombarded Samchok on 15 September 1950 in an attempt to divert troops and attention from the Inchon landings. This was the first time since WWII that Missouri had fired her guns in anger, and in company with the cruiser Helena and two destroyers, she helped prepare the way for the 8th Army offensive.

Missouri arrived at Inchon 19 September, and on 10 October became flagship of Rear Admiral J. M. Higgins, commander, Cruiser Division 5. She arrived Sasebo 14 October, where she became flagship of Vice Admiral A. D. Struble, Commander, 7th Fleet. After screening the aircraft carrier Valley Forge along the east coast of Korea, she conducted bombardment missions from 12 to 26 October in the Chonjin and Tanchon areas, and at Wonsan where she again screened carriers eastward of Wonsan.

On 15 September 1950, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur launched his famous amphibious invasion of Korea during the battle of Inchon. This broke North Korean supply lines, resulting in a North Korean retreat to the north with U.N. forces in hot pursuit. Up till now, the U.N. forces had only engaged North Korean units, but there was talk among the commanders of the U.N. forces (notably General MacArthur) about invading China. A communist nation itself, China had been closely monitoring the North Korean retreat as it gradually aproached the Korea/China border. The Chinese had already issued several warnings announcing their intentions to defend their country, and when it became obvious that North Korean forces could not beat the U.N. forces China took action. On 19 October 1950 some 380,000 People's Liberation Army soldiers under the command of General Peng Dehuai crossed into North Korea and launched a fullscale assault against advancing U.N. troops. Caught by surprise, the U.N. forces realized they would have to fall back, and quickly executed an emergency retreat. U.N. assets were shuffled in order to cover this retreat, and as part of the force tasked with covering the U.N. retreat Missouri was moved into Hungnam 23 December to provide gunfire support about the Hungnam defense perimeter until the last U.N. troops, the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, were evacuated by way of the sea on Christmas Eve 1950.

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Missouri fires her guns against enemy positions during the Korean War

Missouri conducted additional operations with carriers and shore bombardments off the east coast of Korea until 19 March 1951. She arrived Yokosuka 24 March, and 4 days later was relieved of duty in the Far East. She departed Yokosuka 28 March, and upon arrival at Norfolk on 27 April became the flagship of Rear Admiral James L. Holloway, Jr., commander, Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet. During the summer of 1951, she engaged in two midshipman training cruises to northern Europe. Missouri entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard 18 October for an overhaul, which lasted until 30 January 1952.

Following winter and spring training out of Guantanamo Bay, Missouri visited New York, then set course from Norfolk 9 June for another midshipman cruise. She returned to Norfolk 4 August and entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard to prepare for a second tour in the Korean combat zone. Missouri stood out of Hampton Roads on 11 September 1952 and arrived Yokosuka 17 October. She broke the flag of Vice Admiral Joseph J. Clark, commander of the 7th Fleet, on 19 October. Her primary mission was to provide seagoing artillery support by bombarding enemy targets in the Chaho-Tanchon area, at Chongjin, in the Tanchon-Sonjin area, and at Chaho, Wonsan, Hamhung, and Hungnam during the period 25 October through 2 January 1953.

Missouri put in to Inchon 5 January 1953 and sailed thence to Sasebo, Japan. General Mark W. Clark, Commander in Chief, U.N. Command, and Admiral Sir Guy Russell, the Royal Navy commander of the British Far East Station, visited the battleship 23 January. In the following weeks, Missouri resumed "Cobra" patrol along the east coast of Korea to support troops ashore. Repeated strikes against Wonsan, Tanehon, Hungnam, and Kojo destroyed main supply routes along the eastern seaboard. The last gunstrike mission by Missouri was against the Kojo area 25 March. She sustained a grievous casualty 6 March 1953, when her commanding officer Captain Warner R. Edsall suffered a fatal heart attack while conning her through the submarine net at Sasebo. She was relieved as the 7th Fleet flagship 6 April by her older sister New Jersey.

Missouri departed Yokosuka 7 April 1953 and arrived Norfolk 4 May to become flagship for Rear Admiral E. T. Woolridge, commander, Battleships-Cruisers, Atlantic Fleet, 14 May. She departed 8 June on a midshipman training cruise, returned to Norfolk 4 August, and was overhauled in Norfolk Naval Shipyard 20 November to 2 April 1954. Now the flagship of Rear Admiral R. E. Kirby, who had relieved Admiral Woolridge, Missouri departed Norfolk 7 June as flagship of the midshipman training cruise to Lisbon and Cherbourg. She returned Norfolk 3 August and departed the 23rd for inactivation on the West Coast. After calls at Long Beach and San Francisco, Missouri arrived in Seattle 15 September 1954. Three days later she entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where she decommissioned 26 February 1955, entering the Bremerton group, Pacific Reserve Fleet.

1985 – 1992

As part of Navy Secretary John F. Lehman's effort to build a 600-ship Navy, Missouri was reactivated and recommissioned in San Francisco on 10 May 1986. Like her Iowa-class sisters, Missouri was modernized with the latest weaponry available, including the Armored Box Launcher (ABL) system that enabled her to launch BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles and 16 AGM-84 Harpoon missiles. She was also equipped with four Phalanx Close In Weapon System (CIWS) guns to shoot down enemy anti-ship missiles and aircraft. "This is a day to celebrate the rebirth of American sea power," Secretary of Defense Casper W. Weinberger told an audience of 10,000 at the recommissioning ceremony, instructing the crew to "listen for the footsteps of those who have gone before you. They speak to you of honor and the importance of duty. They remind you of your own traditions."

Four months later, the nation's most accomplished battleship departed her new homeport of Long Beach for an around-the-world cruise, bringing a message of "Strength for Freedom" to eight nations: Australia, Diego Garcia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Panama. Missouri became the first battleship to circumnavigate the globe since Theodore Roosevelt's Great White Fleet of 19071909. In 1987, the battleship was given extra smaller-caliber weapons and sent to take part in Operation Earnest Will, the escorting of reflagged oil tankers from Kuwait.

On 25 July 1987, the crew of Missouri was ordered to duty in the troubled waters of the Persian Gulf and departed on a six-month deployment to the Indian Ocean and North Arabian Sea. The ship spent more than 100 continuous days at sea in a hot, tense environment — a striking contrast to the World Cruise months earlier. As the centerpiece for Battlegroup Echo, Missouri steamed into the volatile operating arena and helped prevent an escalation of violence in the Middle East.

Missouri returned to the United States via Diego Garcia, Australia and Hawaii in early 1988. Several months later, Missouri's crew again headed for Hawaiian waters for the Rim of the Pacific (RimPac) exercises, which involved more than 50,000 troops and ships from the navies of Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States. Port visits in 1988 included Vancouver and Victoria Island in Canada, San Diego, Seattle and Bremerton.

1989 was a hectic year in the life of Missouri. The early months found the ship in the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for routine maintenance. Independence Day weekend brought its share of fireworks. A few months later, the battleship departed for Pacific Exercise (PacEx)'89, where Missouri and her sister ship New Jersey performed a simultaneous gunfire demonstration for the aircraft carriers Enterprise and Nimitz. The highlight of PacEx was a port visit in Pusan, Republic of Korea.

In 1990, Missouri again took part in the RimPac Exercise with ships from Australia, Canada, Japan and Korea in addition with United States Navy ships. On 2 August of that year, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded the tiny emirate of Kuwait. In the middle of the month, President George H. W. Bush sent the first of several hundred thousand troops, along with a strong force of naval support to Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf area to support a multi-national force in a standoff with the Iraqi dictator. Missouri's scheduled four-month Western Pacific port-to-port cruise set to begin in September was cancelled just a few days before the ship was to leave — put on hold as forces massed in the Middle East.

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Missouri launches a Tomahawk missile.
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Missouri fires a broadside of her 16" guns during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Both Missouri and Wisconsin fired their big guns in support of ground forces.

The word came. Missouri departed in mid-November for the troubled waters of the Persian Gulf. Amid the press coverage that a ship the stature of Missouri is used to receiving, the mighty dreadnought pulled away from Pier 6 at Long Beach and headed for Hawaii, her first stop on the long journey to the Persian Gulf. Missouri's crew celebrated Thanksgiving in Pearl Harbor, then headed for the Philippines for more work-ups en route to the Persian Gulf. Next stop after Subic Bay was Pattaya Beach, Thailand, for a couple days of liberty, amid the underway training for gunnery, General Quarters and defense against chemical weapons.

Missouri arrived in the Persian Gulf a few days into the new year of 1991, and immediately answered a distress call from a ship on fire in Persian Gulf waters. Missouri dispatched firefighting experts to help, and then journeyed on to the island emirate of Bahrain.

After a very short liberty in Bahrain, Missouri headed north for operations. It was a few days after that, on 17 January 1991 that the ship fired its Tomahawk missiles at Iraqi-held targets. These early morning launches helped mark the start of the war. As the United States and other countries around the world heard the words "The liberation of Kuwait has begun," Missouri continued to fire Tomahawks — 28 in all.

In February 1991, Missouri fired her 16-inch guns at targets just north of Khafji, Saudi Arabia — their first firing in anger since the Korean conflict in the 1950s. Missouri shared gunnery duties with her younger sister Wisconsin, and the two battleships continued to hammer their targets with 16-inch shells. Near the end of the month, Missouri turned her big guns on Faylaka Island and Kuwait City to support the ground offensive. During the Persian Gulf War the Iraqis fired two Silkworm missiles at the ship, one of which fell harmlessly into the sea, the other of which passed quite close to Missouri before being shot down by the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Gloucester.

Iraq agreed to a cease fire agreement on 28 February 1991, ending the last war any battleship ever fought.

In mid-March, Missouri made the long transit back to the West Coast, via two ports in Australia: Perth and Hobart, Tasmania. The ship returned to a joyous reunion with loved ones six months to the day after she departed.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the lack of a perceived threat against the United States came drastic cuts to the defense budget. The high cost of maintaining battleships as part of the active fleet was deemed an ineffective expenditure.

Missouri's final year found the ship visiting Seattle, Wash., Vancouver, British Columbia and San Francisco, Calif. The ship left for one final mission the day after Thanksgiving 1991. Heading across the Pacific, "Mighty Mo's" last act of diplomacy was to visit Pearl Harbor for the remembrance of those who had died 50 years earlier on 7 December 1941. It was a rare sight to see the beginning and the end of U.S. involvement in World War II in the same port.

Missouri, veteran of three wars, was decommissioned for the final time on 31 March 1992 at Long Beach, California. Her last commanding officer, Captain Albert L. Kaiss, wrote this note in the ship's final Plan of the Day:

"Our final day has arrived. Today the final chapter in battleship Missouri's history will be written. It's often said that the crew makes the command. There is no truer statement ... for it's the crew of this great ship that made this a great command. You are a special breed of sailors and Marines and I am proud to have served with each and every one of you. To you who have made the painful journey of putting this great lady to sleep, I thank you. For you have had the toughest job. To put away a ship that has become as much a part of you as you are to her is a sad ending to a great tour. But take solace in this—you have lived up to the history of the ship and those who sailed her before us. We took her to war, performed magnificently and added another chapter in her history, standing side by side our forerunners in true naval tradition. God bless you all."

1993 – Present

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USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; aft deck and 16 inch (406 mm) gun turret

On 4 May 1998, Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton signed the donation contract officially transferring the historic battleship to the USS Missouri Memorial Association (MMA) of Honolulu, Hawaii. The ship was gently guided and delicately docked at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor on 22 June after a 2,300 mile (3700 km) voyage across the Pacific from Bremerton, Wash., that began on 23 May.

Located 1,000 yards (900 m) from the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Missouri was opened as a museum 29 January 1999. The museum is operated by the USS Missouri Memorial Association, a non-profit organization. Ironically, this is not the first time the "Mighty Mo" has served as a museum. In her post-Korean War years, while in reserve, "Mighty Mo" remained very much a part of the Navy and was a popular center of attention at Bremerton. Between her decomissioning in 1955 and her reactivation in 1984 Missouri played host to approximately 100,000 visitors a year, most of whom came by bus to view the battleship.

Missouri received three battle stars for her service in World War II and five for her service during the Korean War.

Commanding Officers of the USS Missouri

USS Missouri has seen 23 tours of duty with 20 different men serving as commanding officer.

  1. Captain William M. Callaghan11 June 1944 to 14 May 1945
    • Ship's first captain
  2. Captain Stuart S. Murray14 May 1945 to 6 November 1945
    • Commanding officer during Japanese surrender ceremony
  3. Captain Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter6 November 1945 to 31 May 1946
  4. Captain Tom B. Hill — 31 May 1946 to 2 April 1947
  5. Captain Robert L. Dennison2 April 1947 to 23 January 1948
    • Later summoned by President Truman to serve on his staff
  6. Captain John B. Colwell — 23 January 1948 to 24 February 1948
  7. Captain James H. Thach — 24 February 1948 to 5 February 1949
  8. Captain Harold P. Smith — 5 February 1949 to 10 December 1949
  9. Captain William D. Brown — 10 December 1949 to 3 February 1950
    • Known as "Muddy" Brown was commanding officer when ship was accidentally grounded.
  10. Commander George E. Peckham — 3 February 1950 to 7 February 1950
    • First commanding officer not to hold rank of Captain, took over command when Captain Brown was relieved after grounding.
  11. Captain Harold Smith — 7 February 1950 to 19 April 1950
    • Return of Captain Smith intended to restore confidence and morale among sailors.
  12. Captain Irving Duke — 19 April 1950 to 2 March 1951
  13. Captain George C. Wright — 2 March 1951 to 18 October 1951
  14. Captain John Sylvester — 18 October 1951 to 4 September 1952
  15. Captain Warner Edsall — 4 September 1952 to 26 March 1953
    • Suffered a heart attack and died on the bridge of the ship upon return to Sasebo, Japan.
  16. Commander James North — 26 March 1953 to 4 April 1953
    • Took command after Captain Edsall passed away.
  17. Captain Robert Brodie — 4 April 1953 to 1 April 1954
  18. Captain Robert Keith — 1 April 1954 to 18 September 1954
  19. Captain James North — 18 September 1954 to 26 February 1955
    • Returned to command USS Missouri now with rank of Captain.
  20. Captain Albert Lee Kaiss — 10 May 1986 to 20 June 1986
    • First captain of recommissioning. Relieved in June 1986 due to health concerns.
  21. Captain James Carney — 20 June 1986 to 6 July 1988
  22. Captain John Chernesky — 6 July 1988 to 13 June 1990
  23. Captain Albert Lee Kaiss — 13 June 1990 to 31 March 1992
    • Health concerns alleviated he returned to command Missouri in the Persian Gulf War.

External links

References

This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.


Iowa-class battleship
Iowa | New Jersey | Missouri | Wisconsin | Illinois | Kentucky

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