USS Missouri (BB-63)

USS Missouri (BB-63)

USS "Missouri" (BB-63) ("Mighty Mo" or "Big Mo") is a U.S. Navy "Iowa"-class battleship, and was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the U.S. state of Missouri. "Missouri" was the last battleship built by the United States, and was the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended World War II.

"Missouri" was ordered in 1940 and commissioned in June 1944. In the Pacific Theater of World War II she fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and shelled the Japanese home islands, and she fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. She was decommissioned in 1955 into the United States Navy reserve fleets (the "Mothball Fleet"), but reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, and fought in the 1991 Gulf War.

"Missouri" received a total of eleven battle stars for service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf, and was finally decommissioned on 31 March 1992, but remained on the Naval Vessel Register until her name was struck in January 1995. In 1998 she was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association and became a museum ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.


"Missouri" was one of the "Iowa"-class "fast battleship" designs planned in 1938 by the Preliminary Design Branch at the Bureau of Construction and Repair. She was launched on 29 January 1944 and commissioned on 11 June. The ship was the third of the "Iowa" class, but the fourth and final "Iowa"-class ship commissioned by the US Navy.cite web | title = WISCONSIN (BB 64) | work = Naval Vessel Register | url = | publisher= United States Navy | date = 2006-03-20 | accessdate=2006-12-17] [At the time "Missouri" was commissioned two other "Iowa"-class battleships— USS "Illinois" and USS "Kentucky"— were under construction, and the United States Navy had commissioned plans for the "Montana"-class battleships; however, "Illinois" and "Kentucky" were canceled before their construction had been completed, and the "Montana"s were suspended and ultimately canceled before any of their hulls were laid down.] [Internationally, there were two other battleships that came after "Missouri": the British battleship HMS "Vanguard", the final battleship constructed by the Royal Navy, and the French battleship "Jean Bart".] The ship was christened at her launching by Mary Margaret Truman, daughter of Harry S. Truman, then a senator from Missouri.cite web | title = Missouri | url = | work = Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships | publisher= United States Navy | accessdate=2006-12-15]

"Missouri"’s main battery consisted of nine 16 inch (406 mm)/50 caliber Mark 7 naval guns, which could fire 2,700 lb armor piercing shells some convert|24|nmi|km|0. Her secondary battery consisted of twenty 5 inch (127 mm)/38 caliber guns in twin turrets, with a range of about convert|9|mi|km|0. With the advent of air power and the need to gain and maintain air superiority came a need to protect the growing fleet of allied aircraft carriers; to this end, "Missouri" was fitted with an array of Oerlikon 20 mm and Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns to defend allied carriers from enemy airstrikes. When reactivated in 1984 "Missouri" had her 20 mm and 40 mm AA guns removed, and was outfitted with Phalanx CIWS mounts for protection against enemy missiles and aircraft, and Armored Box Launchers and Quad Cell Launchers designed to fire Tomahawk missiles and Harpoon missiles, respectively.cite book | last =Johnston | first = Ian | coauthors = McAuley, Rob | title =The Battleships | publisher =Channel 4 | year =2002 | location = London | pages =p. 120 | isbn = 0752261886 | oclc = 59495980 ]

"Missouri" was the last US battleship to be completed."Wisconsin" was commissioned 16 April 1944 (See: [ WISCONSIN (BB 64)] in the Naval Vessel Register) while USS "Missouri" was commissioned 11 June 1944 (See: [ MISSOURI (BB 63)] in the Naval Vessel Register).] (USS "Wisconsin" (BB-64), the highest-numbered US battleship built, was completed before "Missouri"; BB-65 to BB-71 were ordered but cancelled.)

World War II (1944–1945)

hakedown and service with Task Force 58, Admiral Mitscher

After trials off New York and shakedown and battle practice in the Chesapeake Bay, "Missouri" departed Norfolk, Virginia on 11 November 1944, transited the Panama Canal on 18 November and steamed to San Francisco for final fitting out as fleet flagship. She stood out of San Francisco Bay on 14 December and arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 24 December 1944. She departed Hawaii on 2 January 1945 and arrived in Ulithi, West Caroline Islands, on 13 January 1945. There she was temporary headquarters ship for Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher. The battleship put to sea on 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, which had been launched from the carrier USS "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 on 19 February. After TF 58 returned to Ulithi on 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 on 18 March, "Missouri" shot down four Japanese aircraft.

Raids against airfields and naval bases near the Inland Sea and southwestern Honshū continued. During a Japanese attack, two bombs penetrated the hangar deck and decks aft of the carrier "Franklin", leaving her dead in the water within 50 miles (90 km) of the Japanese mainland. The cruiser USS "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 on 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 the battleship "Yamato" on 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.

On 11 April a low-flying kamikaze, although fired on, crashed on "Missouri"'s starboard side just below her main deck level. The starboard wing of the plane was thrown far forward, starting a gasoline fire at 5 inch (127 mm) Gun Mount No. 3. The battleship suffered only superficial damage, and the fire was brought quickly under control. The remains of the pilot's body were recovered on board the ship just aft of one of the 40 mm gun tubs. Captain William M. Callaghan decided that the young Japanese pilot had done his job to the best of his ability and with honor, and that he should be given a military funeral. Not all of the crew agreed with that decision—the pilot was their enemy and had tried to kill them—but the following day he was buried at sea with military honors. [cite press release | title = Battleship Missouri Ceremony to Honor Ship's First Commander, Captain William M. Callaghan, 12 April | publisher = USS Missouri Memorial Association | date = 2001-03-19 | url = | accessdate = 2006-12-23 ] The dent in the side of the ship remains to this day.

About 23:05 on 17 April 1945 "Missouri" detected an enemy submarine 12 miles (22 km) from her formation. Her report set off a hunter-killer operation by the light carrier USS "Bataan" and four destroyers, which sank the Japanese submarine "I-56".

"Missouri" was detached from the carrier task force off Okinawa on 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.

ervice with the 3rd Fleet, Admiral Halsey

"Missouri" arrived at Ulithi on 9 May 1945 and then proceeded to Apra Harbor, Guam, arriving on 18 May. That afternoon Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander 3d Fleet, broke his flag in "Missouri". [William F. Halsey held the rank of a four star Admiral throughout the Second World War. In December 1945, four months after the official surrender of the Japanese, he was promoted to the rank of Fleet Admiral and awarded his fifth star. (See [ Fleet Admiral William Frederick Halsey, Jr.] from the U.S. Navy Historical Center.)] She passed out of the harbor on 21 May, and by 27 May was again conducting shore bombardment against Japanese positions on Okinawa. "Missouri" now led the 3rd Fleet in strikes on airfields and installations on Kyūshū on 2 June and 3 June. She rode out a fierce storm on 5 June and 6 June that wrenched the bow off the cruiser USS "Pittsburgh". Some topside fittings were smashed, but "Missouri" suffered no major damage. Her fleet again struck Kyūshū on 8 June, then hit hard in a coordinated air-surface bombardment before retiring towards Leyte. She arrived at San Pedro, Leyte, on 13 June 1945, after almost three months of continuous operations in support of the Okinawa campaign.

Here she prepared to lead the powerful 3rd Fleet in strikes at the heart of Japan from within its home waters. The fleet set a northerly course on 8 July to approach the Japanese main island, Honshū. Raids took Tokyo by surprise on 10 July, followed by more devastation at the juncture of Honshū and Hokkaidō, the second-largest Japanese island, on 13 July and 14 July. For the first time naval gunfire destroyed a major installation within the home islands when "Missouri" joined in a shore bombardment on 15 July that severely damaged the Nihon Steel Co. and the Wanishi Ironworks at Muroran, Hokkaido.

During the nights of 17 July and 18 July "Missouri" bombarded industrial targets in Honshū. Inland Sea aerial strikes continued through 25 July 1945, and "Missouri" guarded the carriers as they attacked the Japanese capital. As July ended the Japanese no longer had any home waters. "Missouri" had led the fleet to gain control of the air and sea approaches to the shores of the Japanese main island.

igning of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender

Strikes on Hokkaidō and northern Honshū resumed on 9 August 1945, the day the second atomic bomb was dropped. On 10 August 1945, 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 Harry S. Truman had announced Japan's acceptance of unconditional surrender.

Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser of the Royal Navy, the Commander of the British Pacific Fleet, boarded "Missouri" on 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 USS "Iowa" for temporary duty with the initial occupation force for Tokyo on 21 August. "Missouri" herself entered Tokyo Bay early on 29 August to prepare for the signing by Japan of the official instrument of surrender.

High-ranking military officials of all the Allied Powers were received on board on 2 September, including Chinese General Hsu Yung-Ch'ang, British Admiral-of-the-Fleet Sir Bruce Fraser, Soviet Lieutenant-General Kuzma Nikolaevich Derevyanko, Australian General Sir Thomas Blamey, Canadian Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrave, French Général d'Armée Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque, Netherlands Vice Admiral Conrad Emil Lambert Helfrich, and New Zealand Air Vice Marshal Leonard M. Isitt.
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 opened the 23 minute surrender ceremony to the waiting world by stating, "It is my earnest hope—indeeded the hope of all mankind—that from the blood and carnage of the past, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the diginity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice." [ Citation | last =Staff | first = | author-link = | publication-date =September 1985 | date =1985 | year = | title =Missouri's place in history | periodical =All Hands | series = | publication-place =Alexandria, VA | place = | publisher =United States Navy | volume = | issue =822 | pages =16 | url = | issn = | doi = | oclc = | accessdate =2008-06-25]

During the surrender ceremony, the deck of the "Missouri" was decorated with just two American flags. One had been flown from Commodore Perry's flagship in 1853-1854 when his squadron sailed into Tokyo Bay to urge the opening of Japan's ports to foreign trade. This flag was actually displayed with the reverse side showing, i.e., stars in the upper right corner: the historic flag was so fragile that the conservator at the Naval Academy Museum directed that a protective backing be sewn on it, leaving its "wrong side" visible; and this was how Perry's 31-star flag was presented on this unique occasion.Tsustsumi, Cheryl Lee. [ "Hawii's Back Yard: Mighty Mo memorial re-creates a powerful history,"] "Star-Bulletin" (Honolulu). 26 August 2007.] The other U.S. flag came from the battleship while anchored in Tokyo Bay; it was "...just a plain ordinary GI-issue flag". [cite web | title = Admiral Stuart S Murray’s oral history RE Surrender table 2 September 1945 | url = | first = Stuart S. | last = Murray | authorlink = Stuart S. Murray| work = | publisher = USS Missouri Memorial Association | date = | accessdate=2006-12-23]

By 09:30 the Japanese emissaries had departed. In the afternoon of 5 September Admiral Halsey transferred his flag to the battleship USS "South Dakota", and early the next day "Missouri" departed Tokyo Bay. As part of the ongoing Operation "Magic Carpet" she received homeward bound passengers at Guam, then sailed unescorted for Hawaii. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 20 September and flew Admiral Nimitz's flag on the afternoon of 28 September for a reception.

Post-war (1946–1950)

The next day, "Missouri" departed Pearl Harbor bound for the eastern seaboard of the United States. She reached New York City on 23 October 1945 and broke the flag of U.S. 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. During the afternoon of 21 March 1946, she received the remains of the Turkish Ambassador to the United States, Münir Ertegün. She departed on 22 March for Gibraltar and on 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 on 9 April and entered Phaleron Bay, Piraeus, Greece, the following day for an overwhelming welcome by Greek government officials and anti-communist citizens. Greece had become the scene of a civil war between the communist World War II resistance movement and the returning Greek government-in-exile. The United States saw this as an important test case for its new doctrine of containment of the Soviet Union. The Soviets were also pushing for concessions in the Dodecanese to be included in the peace treaty with Italy and for access through the Dardanelles strait between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. The voyage of "Missouri" to the eastern Mediterranean symbolized America's strategic commitment to the region. News media proclaimed her a symbol of U.S. interest in preserving both nations' independence.

"Missouri" departed Piraeus on 26 April, touching at Algiers and Tangiers before arriving at Norfolk on 9 May. She departed for Culebra Island on 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 on 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. On 13 December, during a target practice exercise in the North Atlantic, a star shell accidentally struck the battleship, but without causing injuries.cite web | title = USS Missouri (BB 63): Accidents aboard USS MISSOURI | work = Unofficial US Navy Site | url = | first = Thoralf | last = Doehring | accessdate = 2006-12-15]

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

The Truman family boarded "Missouri" on 7 September 1947 to return to the United States and debarked at Norfolk on 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 on 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.

Throughout the latter half of the 1940s the various service branches of the United States had been downsizing their inventories from their World War II levels. In the Navy this resulted in several vessels of various types being decommissioned and either sold for scrap or placed in one of the various United States Navy reserve fleets scattered along the East and West Coast of the United States. As part of this drawdown, three of the "Iowa"-class battleships had been de-activated and decommissioned; however, President Truman refused to allow "Missouri" to be decommissioned. Against the advice of Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan, and Chief of Naval Operations Louis E. Denfeld, Truman ordered "Missouri" to be maintained with the active fleet partly because of his fondness for the battleship and partly because the battleship had been commissioned by his daughter Margaret Truman. [cite journal | url= | title = USS "Missouri": Served in World War II and Korean War | last=Stillwell | first=Paul | month = February | year = 1999 | journal = American History | volume = | issue = | pages = | issn = 1076-8866 | id = OCLC|30148811 | accessdate=2007-12-03 ] [cite news | url = | title = Mighty Mo anchors $500,000 donation | last=Adamski | first = Mary | work = Honolulu Star-Bulletin | date = 1998-08-09 | accessdate=2007-06-14 ]

Then the only U.S. battleship in commission, "Missouri" was proceeding seaward on a training mission from Hampton Roads early on 17 January 1950 when she ran aground 1.6 miles (3.0 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. The US's cold war adversary, the Soviet Union, ran a story in its naval publication "Red Fleet" which ridiculed the grounding of the battleship. With the aid of tugboats, pontoons, and an incoming tide, she was refloated on 1 February 1950 and repaired.

The Korean War period (1950–1955)

In 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea, prompting the United States to intervene in the name of the United Nations. President Harry S. Truman was caught off guard when the invasion struck, [American Secretary of State Dean Acheson had told Congress on 20 June that no war was likely.] but quickly ordered U.S. forces stationed in Japan into South Korea. Truman also sent U.S.-based troops, tanks, fighter and bomber aircraft, and a strong naval force to Korea to support the Republic of Korea. As part of the naval mobilization "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 Kyūshū on 14 September, where she 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 Incheon landings. This was the first time since WWII that "Missouri" had fired her guns in anger, and in company with the cruiser USS "Helena" and two destroyers, she helped prepare the way for the 8th Army offensive.

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

MacArthur's amphibious landings at Incheon had severed the North Korean Army’s supply lines; as a result, North Korea’s army had begun a lengthy retreat from South Korea into North Korea. This retreat was closely monitored by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) out of fear that the U.N. offensive against Korea would create a capitalist country on China’s border, and out of concern that the U.N. offensive in Korea could evolve into a U.N. war against China. The latter of these two threats had already manifested itself during the Korea War: U.S. F-86 Sabres on patrol in "MiG Alley" frequently crossed into China while pursuing Communist Migs operating out of Chinese airbases.cite episode | title = Mig Alley | episodelink = | url = | series = Dogfights | serieslink = Dogfights (TV series) | credits = | network = The History Channel | station = | city = | airdate = 2006-11-03 | began = | ended = | season = 1 | number = 1 | minutes = | transcript = | transcripturl = ]

Moreover, there was talk among the U.N. commandersmdashnotably General Douglas MacArthurmdashabout a potential campaign against the People's Republic of China. In an effort to dissuade U.N. forces from completely overrunning North Korea the People's Republic of China issued diplomatic warnings that they would use force to protect the PRC, but these warnings were not taken seriously for a number a reasons, among them the fact that China lacked air cover to conduct such an attack. [cite book | title = United States Army in the Korean War | first = James F. | last = Schnabel | coauthors = Roy Edgar Appleman; United States. Dept. of the Army. Office of Military History | location = Washington, D.C. | publisher = Office of the Chief of Military History, United States Army | year = 1961–72 | oclc = 81433331 | page = p. 212 ] [cite book | title = Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1949–1953 | first = Robert J. | last = Donovan | location = New York | publisher = Norton | year = 1982 | isbn = 9780393016192 | oclc = 8345640 | page = p. 285 ] This changed abruptly on 19 October 1950, when the first of an eventual total of nowrap | 380,000 People's Liberation Army soldiers under the command of General Peng Dehuai crossed into North Korea, launching a full scale assault against advancing U.N. troops. The PRC offensive caught the U.N. completely by surprise; 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 on 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 24 December 1950.

"Missouri" conducted additional operations with carriers and shore bombardments off the east coast of Korea until 19 March 1951. She arrived at Yokosuka on 24 March, and 4 days later was relieved of duty in the Far East. She departed Yokosuka on 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 1951 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 on 9 June 1952 for another midshipman cruise. She returned to Norfolk on 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 at Yokosuka on 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 Incheon on 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 on 23 January. In the following weeks, "Missouri" resumed "Cobra" patrol along the east coast of Korea to support troops ashore. Repeated bombardment of Wonsan, Tanehon, Hungnam, and Kojo destroyed main supply routes along the eastern seaboard of Korea.

The last bombardment mission by "Missouri" was against the Kojo area on 25 March. On 6 March 1953 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 on 6 April by her older sister USS "New Jersey".

"Missouri" departed Yokosuka on 7 April 1953 and arrived at Norfolk on 4 May to become flagship for Rear Admiral E. T. Woolridge, commander, Battleships-Cruisers, Atlantic Fleet, on 14 May. She departed on 8 June on a midshipman training cruise, returned to Norfolk on 4 August, and was overhauled in Norfolk Naval Shipyard from 20 November 1953 to 2 April 1954. Now the flagship of Rear Admiral R. E. Kirby, who had relieved Admiral Woolridge, "Missouri" departed Norfolk on 7 June as flagship of the midshipman training cruise to Lisbon and Cherbourg. During this voyage "Missouri" was joined by the other three battleships of her class, USS "New Jersey", "Wisconsin", and "Iowa", the only time the four ships sailed together. [cite book | title = Battleship | first = Philip | last = Kaplan | location = Annapolis, Maryland | publisher = Naval Institute Press | year = 2004 | isbn = 9781591140382 | oclc = 56052489 | page = p. 166 ] She returned to Norfolk on 3 August and departed on 23 August for inactivation on the West Coast. After calls at Long Beach and San Francisco, "Missouri" arrived in Seattle on 15 September 1954. Three days later she entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where she decommissioned on 26 February 1955, entering the Bremerton group, Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Upon arrival in Bremerton, "Missouri" was moored at the last pier of the reserve fleet berthing. This placed her very close to the mainland, and she served as a popular tourist attraction, logging about 180,000 visitors per year, who came to view the "surrender deck" where a bronze plaque memorialized the spot where Japan surrendered to the Allies, and the accompanying historical display that included copies of the surrender documents and photos. A small cottage industry grew in the civilian community just outside the gates, selling souvenirs and other memorabilia. Nearly thirty years passed before "Missouri" next returned to active duty.

Reactivation (1984 to 1990)

Under the Reagan Administration’s program to build a 600-ship Navy, led by Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman, "Missouri" was reactivated and towed by the salvage ship "Beaufort" to the Long Beach Naval Yard in the summer of 1984 to undergo modernization in advance of her scheduled recomissioning. In preparation for the move a skeleton crew of twenty spent three weeks working 12-to-16 hour days preparing the battleship for her tow. [Citation | last =Weissleder | first =Bob | author-link = | publication-date =November 1984 | date = | year =1984 | title =Mighty Mo Rejoins Fleet | periodical =All Hands | series = | publication-place =Alexandria, VA | place = | publisher =United States Navy | volume = | issue =813 | pages =26–28 | url = | issn = | doi = | oclc = | accessdate =2008-06-25] During the modernization "Missouri" had her obsolete armament removed: Oerlikon 20 mm and Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, and 5 inch gun mounts.cite web | title = BB-61 IOWA-class | format = specifications | url = | publisher = Federation of American Scientists | date = 2000-10-21 | accessdate=2006-11-26 ]

Over the next several months the ship was upgraded with the most advanced weaponry available; among the new weapons systems installed were four MK 141 quad cell launchers for 16 AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, eight Armored Box Launcher (ABL) mounts for 32 BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles, and a quartet of Phalanx Close In Weapon System (CIWS) gatling guns for defense against enemy anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft. Also included in her modernization were upgrades to radar and fire control systems for her guns and missiles, and improved electronic warfare capabilities. During the modernization "Missouri"’s 800 lb bell, which had been removed from the battleship and sent to Jefferson City, Missouri for sesquicentennial celebrations in the state, was formally returned to the battleship in advance of her recommissioning. [ Citation | last =Staff | first = | author-link = | publication-date =September 1985 | date =1985 | year = | title =Missouri bell returned | periodical =All Hands | series = | publication-place =Alexandria, VA | place = | publisher =United States Navy | volume = | issue =822 | pages =16 | url = | issn = | doi = | oclc = | accessdate =2008-06-25] "Missouri" was formally recommissioned in San Francisco, California on 10 May 1986. "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."cite web | title = United States Navy Battleships: USS Missouri (BB 63) | url = | work = The Battleships | publisher= United States Navy Office of Information | date = 2000-04-24 | accessdate = 2006-12-15]

Four months later "Missouri" departed from her new home port of Long Beach for an around-the-world cruise, visiting Hawaii, Australia and Tasmania, 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" 80 years before—a fleet which included the first battleship named USS "Missouri", BB-11.

In 1987 "Missouri" was outfitted with 40 mm grenade launchers and 25 mm chain guns and sent to take part in Operation "Earnest Will", the escorting of reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.cite book |last=Poyer |first=Joe |editor=Lightbody, Andy & Blaine, Taylor |title=Battleships at War: America's Century Long Romance with the Big Guns of the Fleet |origyear=1991 |accessdate=2008-02-23 |publisher=Challenge Publications, Inc |location=Canoga Park, CA |pages=50-53 |chapter=Are These the Last Battleships?] These smaller-caliber weapons were installed due to the threat of Iranian-manned, Swedish-made Boghammar cigarette boats operating in the Persian Gulf at the time. [cite web | title = Frequently asked questions aboard the Missouri | url = | publisher= USS Missouri Memorial Association | year = 2004 | accessdate = 2006-12-24] On 25 July 1987, the ship departed on a six-month deployment to the Indian Ocean and North Arabian Sea. She spent more than 100 continuous days at sea in a hot, tense environment—a striking contrast to her world cruise months earlier. As the centerpiece for Battlegroup Echo, "Missouri" escorted tanker convoys into the Strait of Hormuz, keeping her fire control system trained on land-based Iranian Silkworm missile launchers. [cite web | url = | first = J. J. | last = Chernesky | title = COMMAND HISTORY, CALENDAR YEAR 1987, (OPNAV REPORT SYMBOL 5750-1) | format = page 2 | publisher= USS Missouri Memorial Association | month = October | year = 1987 | accessdate = 2006-12-24]

"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 in Canada, San Diego, Seattle, and Bremerton.

In the early months of 1989 "Missouri" was in the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for routine maintenance. A few months later she departed for Pacific Exercise (PacEx) '89, where she and her sister ship USS "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, Korea, and the US.

Gulf War (1990 to 1991)

On 2 August 1990 Iraq, led by President Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. In the middle of the month US President George H. W. Bush, in keeping with the Carter Doctrine, 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 Iraq.

"Missouri"’s scheduled four-month Western Pacific port-to-port cruise set to begin in September was canceled just a few days before the ship was to leave. She had been placed on hold in anticipation of being mobilized as forces continued to mass in the Middle East. "Missouri" departed on 13 November 1990 for the troubled waters of the Persian Gulf. She departed from Pier 6 at Long Beach, with extensive press coverage, and headed for Hawaii and the Philippines for more work-ups en route to the Persian Gulf. Along the way she made stops at Subic Bay and Pattaya Beach, Thailand, before transiting the Strait of Hormuz on 3 January 1991. During subsequent operations leading up to Operation Desert Storm, "Missouri" prepared to launch Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) and provide naval gunfire support as required.

"Missouri" fired her first Tomahawk missile at Iraqi targets at 01:40 on 17 January 1991, followed by 27 additional missiles over the next five days.

On 29 January 1991 the sclass|Oliver Hazard Perry|frigate|1 USS|Curts|FFG-38|6 led "Missouri" northward, using advanced mine-avoidance sonar. In her first naval fire support action of the Gulf War she shelled an Iraqi command and control bunker near the Saudi border, the first time her convert|16|in|mm|0|sing=on guns had been fired in combat since March 1953 off Korea.cite book | chapter = V: "Thunder And Lightning"- The War With Iraq | title = The United States Navy in "Desert Shield" / "Desert Storm"| url = | chapterurl = | author = United States. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. | location = Washington, D.C. | publisher= United States Navy | date = 1991-05-15 | accessdate = 2006-11-26 | oclc = 25081170] The battleship bombarded Iraqi beach defenses in occupied Kuwait on the night of 3 February, firing 112 16-inch rounds over the next three days until relieved by her sister ship USS "Wisconsin". "Missouri" then fired another 60 rounds off Khafji on 11 February and 12 February before steaming north to Faylaka Island. After minesweepers cleared a lane through Iraqi defenses, "Missouri" fired 133 rounds during four shore bombardment missions as part of the amphibious landing feint against the Kuwaiti shore line the morning of 23 February. The heavy pounding attracted Iraqi attention; in response to the battleship’s artillery strike, the Iraqis fired two HY-2 Silkworm missiles at the battleship, one of which missed,cite web | title = USS Missouri (BB-63)FAQ | url = | publisher = | first = Ben M. | last = Schorr | date = 2006-02-03 | accessdate = 2006-12-16] while the other was intercepted by a GWS-30 Sea Dart missile launched from the British air defence destroyer HMS "Gloucester" within 90 seconds and crashed into the sea roughly convert|700|yd|m|-2 in front of "Missouri".cite news | title = Pride & Glory | url = | first = Gregg K | last = Kakesako | work = Honolulu Star-Bulletin | date = 1998-06-15 | accessdate = 2006-12-24]

During the Gulf War "Missouri" was involved in a friendly fire incident with the "Oliver Hazard Perry"-class frigate USS "Jarrett". According to the official report, on 25 February "Jarrett"’s Phalanx engaged the chaff fired by "Missouri" as a countermeasure against enemy missiles, and stray rounds from the firing struck "Missouri", one penetrating through a bulkhead and becoming embedded in an interior passageway of the ship. Another round struck the ship on the forward funnel, passing completely through it. One sailor aboard "Missouri" was struck in the neck by flying shrapnel and suffered minor injuries. Those familiar with the incident are skeptical of this account, however, as "Jarrett" was reportedly over convert|2|mi|km away at the time and the characteristics of chaff are such that a Phalanx would not normally regard it as a threat and engage it. [cite web | url = | title = Lead Report #14246 | publisher = Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, Department of Defense | date = 1998-01-23 | accessdate = 2007-12-03 ] There is no dispute that the rounds that struck "Missouri" did come from "Jarrett", and that it was an accident. The suspicion is that a Phalanx operator on "Jarrett" may have accidentally fired off a few rounds manually, although there is no evidence to support this.cite book | title = Environmental exposure report | author = United States. Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses. | location = Washington, D.C. | publisher = Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, Department of Defense | year = 2000 | oclc = 47168115 | url = | chapterurl = | chapter = TAB H -- Friendly-fire Incidents | accessdate= 2007-02-25 ]

During the Gulf War "Missouri" also assisted coalition forces engaged in clearing Iraqi naval mines in Persian Gulf. By the time the war ended "Missouri" had destroyed at least 15 naval mines.

With combat operations out of range of the battleship’s guns on 26 February, "Missouri" conducted patrol and armistice enforcement operations in the northern Persian Gulf until sailing for home on 21 March 1991. Following stops at Fremantle and Hobart, Australia, the warship visited Pearl Harbor before arriving home in April. She spent the remainder of the year conducting type training and other local operations, the latter including the 7 December 1991 "voyage of remembrance" to mark the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. During that ceremony, "Missouri" hosted President George H. W. Bush, the first such presidential visit for the warship since Harry S. Truman boarded the battleship in September 1947.

Museum ship (1993 to present)

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the absence of a perceived threat to the United States came drastic cuts in the defense budget, and the high cost of maintaining and operating battleships as part of the United States Navy's active fleet became uneconomical; as a result, "Missouri" was decommissioned on 31 March 1992 at Long Beach, California.cite web | title = MISSOURI (BB 63) | url = | work = Naval Vessel Register | publisher = United States Navy | date = 2002-07-19 | accessdate = 2007-12-03 ] Her last commanding officer, Captain Albert L. Kaiss, wrote this note in the ship's final Plan of the Day:

"Missouri" remained part of the reserve fleet at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, until 12 January 1995, when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. On 4 May 1998, Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton signed the donation contract that transferred her to the nonprofit USS "Missouri" Memorial Association (MMA) of Honolulu, Hawaii. She was towed from Bremerton on 23 May to the Port of Astoria, Oregon, where she sat in fresh water at the mouth of the Columbia River to kill and drop the saltwater barnacles and sea grasses that had grown on her hull in Bremerton, then towed across the eastern Pacific, and docked at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor on 22 June, just 500 yards (about 450 meters) from the "Arizona" Memorial. Less than a year later, on 29 January 1999, "Missouri" was opened as a museum operated by the MMA.

Originally, the decision to move "Missouri" to Pearl Harbor was met with some resistance. Many people feared that the battleship, whose name has become synonymous with the end of World War II, would overshadow the battleship USS "Arizona", whose dramatic explosion and subsequent sinking on 7 December 1941 has since become synonymous with the attack on Pearl Harbor.cite news | title = Will "Mighty Mo" be too much? | url = | first = Gregg K | last = Kakesako | work = Honolulu Star-Bulletin | accessdate=2006-12-22] To help guard against this perception "Missouri" was placed well back from and facing the "Arizona" Memorial, so that those participating in military ceremonies on "Missouri"’s aft decks would not have sight of the "Arizona" Memorial. The decision to have "Missouri"’s bow face the "Arizona" Memorial was intended to convey that "Missouri" now watches over the remains of the battleship "Arizona" so that those interred within "Arizona"’s hull may rest in peace.cite web | title = Next stop... Mighty Mo, the USS MISSOURI (BB63) | url = | work = RAND PECK, A LIFE ALOFT | first = Rand | last = Peck | date = 2006-11-24 | accessdate = 2006-12-24 ]

"Missouri" is not eligible for designation as a National Historic Landmark although she was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 14 May 1971 for hosting the signing of the instrument of Japanese surrender that ended World War II. This is because she was extensively modernized in the years following the surrender.


"Missouri" received three battle stars for her service in World War II, five for her service during the Korean War, and three for her service during the Gulf War. "Missouri" also received numerous ribbon awards for her service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf, including the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy "E" with Wreathed Battle E device, China Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal with service star, Korean Service Medal with silver service star (5 campaigns), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two campaign stars, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two service stars, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, United Nations Service Medal, and Liberation of Kuwait Medal. [cite web | title = Missouri Ribbon Bar | url = | work = USS Missouri Memorial Association | publisher= | accessdate=2006-12-24]



* Paul Chan, Ian and McAuley, Rob. "The Battleships". Channel 4 Books, London ISBN 0-7522-6188-6
* Naval Historical Foundation. "The Navy". Barnes & Noble Inc, China ISBN 0-7607-6218-X
* Kaplan, Philip "Battleship" (2004) Arum Press Ltd, London ISBN 1-85410-902-2
* Stillwell, Paul. "Battleship Missouri: An Illustrated History." Annapolis, Maryland: US Naval Institute Press, 1995. ISBN 1557507805


ee also

*List of museum ships
*List of broadsides of major World War II ships

External links

* [ Memorial museum site]
* [ Photo gallery]
* [ USS "Missouri" at FactPlace]
* [ HNSA Ship Page: USS Missouri]
* [ USS "Missouri"]
* [ USS "Missouri"]
* [ USS "Missouri"]
* [ USS "Missouri"]
* [ Maritimequest USS Missouri BB-63 Photo Gallery]
* [ WWII Battleship Site Entry for USS "Missouri"]

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