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  USS Missouri BB-63
Iowa Class Battleship

887'3" x 108'3" x 38'
9 x 16" batteries
12 x 5" batteries

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USN April 11, 1945

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USN Sept 2, 1945

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USN Sept 2, 1945

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Justin Taylan 2010

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Justin Taylan 2004
Ship History
Built by Brooklyn Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York. Ordered June 12, 1940 as the third Iowa Class Battleship ordered but the last to be built. Laid down January 6, 1941. Launched January 29, 1944 as USS Missouri BB-63 named in honor of the State of Missouri. Sponsored by Mary Margaret Truman, daughter of daughter of Harry S. Truman who was then a U. S. Senator for Missouri. Commissioned June 11, 1944 into the U. S. Navy (USN) under the command of Captain William Callaghan. Nicknamed Mighty Mo" or "Big Mo".

Missouri completed sea trials off New York and a stakedown cruise in the Chesapeake Bay. On November 11, 1944 departed for Norfolk, Virgiina. On November 18, 1944 transited the Panama Canal then proceeded to San Francisco for final fitting out. Initially, Missouri had a dazzle camouflage but was repainted overall gray for operations in the Pacific.

Wartime History
On December 14, 1944 departed San Francisco westward to Hawaii. On December 24, 1944 arrived at Pearl Harbor and departed January 2, 1945 across the Pacific Ocean before arriving Ulithi eleven days later and became the temporary headquarters for Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher.

On January 27, 1945 departed Ulithi as part of the screening force for the Task Force 58 (TF-58) including USS Lexington CV-16. On February 10, 1945 launched SC-1 Seahawk 35362 piloted by Lt. Everett N. Frothingham on Missouri's first combat patrol but the float plane developed engine trouble and crashed into the sea and the pilot died before USS Lewis Hancock DD-675 could be rescued. On February 16, 1945 carrier aircraft attacked Japan. Afterwards, Missouri provides gunfire support against targets on Iwo Jima in support of the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) landing then returned with TF-58 to Ulithi.


Kamikaze Impact
On April 11, 1945 off Okinawa, a flight of sixteen enemy aircraft were spotted on radar. An A6M Zero likely piloted by Ishino Setsuo approached from the stern and was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the starboard side of the battleship. A famous photo was taken just moments before the aircraft impacted.

The plane ricocheted away, causing only minor damage, but the pilot was catapulted from the cockpit, and his body demolished part of a gun mount. The pilot's body landed on the deck and was buried by the ship the next day, with a Marine honor guard firing a salute. A dent in the hull between frames 159 and 165 still remains. Inside a display case are pieces of wreckage from this Zero, believed to be piloted by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ishino Setsuo.

Official Surrender of Japan
On September 2, 1945 on the deck of Missouri, a Japanese deligation signed the instrument of surrender in Toyko Harbor ending World War II and the Pacific War. Closing the ceremony, U. S. Army General Douglas MacArthur stated: "Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always. These proceedings are closed!"

Decommissioned in 1955 and returned to service. Again decommissioned in 1991. In 1996 she was towed to Pearl Harbor for permanent display moored off Ford Island.

USS Missouri as Museum
Open to visitors with paid admission thru the USS Missouri Memorial Museum. The ship forms the bookend of WWII Naval history, permanently moored at Battleship Row, to the side of the USS Arizona Memorial. Although the battleship was modernized during the 1980's the flying bridge controls are the same as those used in WWII.

NavSource - USS Missouri BB-63 (photo)
AP Images - WWII Japan Surrender 686883055949
Battleship Missouri Memorial official website

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Last Updated
March 1, 2020


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