Celebrating 70 years of sailing with the USS Missouri
Soak some history into your Hawaii visit with a trip to the USS Missouri. Here, it’s easy to mix in a splash of U.S. history with an exhilarating experience for ship-lovers — getting up close and personal with a ship that has a stature as massive as its experience on the water.
Making waves amongst America’s fleet of celebrated ships is the USS Missouri. The 58,000-ton Iowa-class battleship is a beast in the water, measuring slightly below 900 feet – or the length of three football fields — from bow to stern and standing 20 stories tall. Today, this gentle giant watches over Hawaii’s warm waters at Pearl Harbor.
Known to many by the moniker “Mighty Mo” this year, the USS Missouri is riding into 2014 with 70 years of history in her wake. In January 1944, the Missouri was christened by Margaret Truman, the Missouri’s sponsor and daughter of President Harry Truman. As part of the 70th anniversary celebration the USS Missouri recently unveiled a new exhibit featuring photos of the battleship from when she was under construction and video from her launch.
A ship’s splash in history
Commissioned in 1944 the USS Missouri was the last battleship that the United States ever built and the last to be decommissioned. She set sail to the war-torn waters off Japan in January 1945. Later that year the Missouri was the infamous host site for the Japanese surrender ceremony accepted by General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral Cheester Nimitz and the Allied Forces, which brought an end to World War II on September 2, 1945.
Following the conclusion of the war, the USS Missouri was shipped stateside. After participating in a great naval review, she took part in missions in the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas from 1945 through 1950.
In June 1950 the Korean War erupted and the USS Missouri was the sole US battleship on active duty. She took part in two combat deployments to the Western Pacific and was eventually decommissioned for the first time in 1955. For the next 30 years, the Missouri served as a tourist attraction in Bremerton, Washington.
After being recommissioned in 1986 the USS Missouri stayed busy completing a worldwide voyage and heading back into combat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
A home in Hawaii
When she was decommissioned for the final time in March 1992 the USS Missouri was sent to Hawaii. Celebrating the end of a 50-year career that saw three wars, in 1998 her place in Pearl Harbor was sealed when she was established as a memorial for visitors.
Today, the Battleship Missouri Memorial is tied up at Pier Foxtrot 5 on Ford Island. She stands bow-to-bow to the sunken USS Arizona. While the USS Missouri represents the end of World War II the USS Arizona represents the beginning – one of the ships that fell victim to the infamous December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the final resting place for 1,102 sailors killed on board that day.
Guests of all ages will revel in the experience to step back into history. The Missouri invites visitors to tour the main and upper decks as well as explore the belly of the ship. Here guests can stand in the shadow of General Douglas MacArthur, inspect the ship’s 16-inch, 50-caliber guns and see first-hand the crew’s mess and quarters. Before you leave, be sure to sit back and check out the view from the captain’s chair!
The USS Missouri memorial is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from September through May and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June through August. It is closed three days a year on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Tickets to the USS Missouri start from $25 for adults and can be purchased online at www.ussmissouri.org/.
For those traveling with foreign-speaking family or friends the USS Missouri memorial offers narrated tours in multiple languages including Japanese, Spanish, Chinese and Korean. And for families with children, make the most of this educational opportunity by incorporating a touch of technology, with an iPod Touch, which are preloaded with videos, audio and apps.