USS Missouri (the "Mighty Mo") proudly rides at anchor in Pearl
Harbor, Hawaii, next to the USS Arizona Memorial, the two marking
the beginning and the end of World War II. The USS Missouri
Memorial opened January 29, 1999 and is one of the most popular
attractions in Hawaii. .One cannot fail to be deeply moved by
the historic significance of this great ship. She was the last
battleship ever built and the biggest. She is almost 900 feet
long and over 100 feet in beam and more than 200 feet in height.
Each link in the 1,200-foot long chains of her two anchors weighs
over 100 pounds. 17 inches of solid steel protect her citadel
from which the ship's operations were directed during battle.
But even greater than her physical size is the size of her place
in American history.
On the deck of the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945, General
Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan's surrender, thereby ending
World War II. And after World War II, the USS Missouri fought
again in Korea and in Operation Desert Storm. The USS Missouri
was launched on January 29, 1944, commissioned on June 11 of
the same year, and reported for duty to the Third Fleet in Pearl
Harbor on Christmas Eve 1944. She became the flagship for Admiral
William "Bull" Halsey and was an important part of the war in
the Pacific, assisting in the bombing raids over Tokyo and providing
firepower in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She was first
decommissioned in 1955 after action in Korea.
In 1986 she was modernized, recommissioned, and sent on a tour
around the world. Then in 1991, she was sent to the Persian
Gulf to protect American-flagged oil tankers near the Straits
of Hormuz, and she launched 28 Tomahawk missiles against Iraqi
positions in Baghdad and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.
Her final operational mission was to sail into Pearl Harbor
on December 7, 1991, the 50th anniversary of the United States'
entry into World War II, when she played an important role in
the commemoration of that event. In 1992, the USS Missouri was
decommissioned for the second time, and in 1995 she was removed
from the Navy's ship registry, enabling her to be donated by
the Navy for preservation as a memorial museum. After intense
competition, the USS Missouri Memorial Association was selected
by the Navy to care for the "Mighty Mo" at Pearl Harbor, and
in 1998 title to the ship was transferred to the Association,
and the "Mighty Mo" was brought to Pearl Harbor. A massive effort
by volunteers was undertaken to refurbish the shipóclean and
repaint her exterior, refinish deck planks, polish her brass,
and clean a number of her interior spaces in time for her opening.
On the Surrender Deck of the USS Missouri, the visitor experiences
history come to life, hearing the unmistakable voice of Gen.
MacArthur and seeing the precise spot where the surrender occurred
and the world's bloodiest war came to an end. The visitor can
see the wardroom, officers quarters, the spot on the fantail
where a Japanese attack plane penetrated the USS Missouri's
anti-aircraft defenses and crashed into the deck, setting the
ship on fire. And the visitor can stand in awe of the USS Missouri's
16-inch guns. Each of those guns (three to a turret) is 65 feet
long, weighs 116 tons, and can accurately fire a 2,700 pound
shell 23 miles in 50 seconds.
A. James Wriston, Jr.
Advance ticket information is available by dialing 1-877-MIGHTY-MO. Tickets are available on Ford Island. Transportation to the Missouri/Bowfin ticket office may be arranged through your Waikiki hotel or you can easily arrange your own transportation. City buses run nearby, but probably the best combination of convenience and price is to take a Arizona Memorial shuttle bus operated by a number of companies on Oahu.
Hours of Operation 8 am – 4 pm (8 am – 5 pm in Summer)
Ticket Sales end at 3 pm (4 pm in Summer)
ADULT $22/CHILD $11
MILITARY & KAMA'AINA
ADULTS (with ID) $17 / CHILD $9