Among the many historic ships that have served America, the battleship Missouri has been a defining moment for the nation. A 45,000 ton Iowa class battleship, she was commissioned in June 1944 and joined the Pacific Third Fleet the same month. Her first mission was escorting aircraft carriers through the seas while providing dense antiaircraft fire when needed.
The Mighty Mo became the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, bringing home America’s victories in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She also carried out bombing raids over Tokyo and provided the Allied Forces with firepower against Japan’s home islands, a crucial part of the war effort in the Pacific theater.
What Makes the USS Missouri so Special in American History
The last battleship to be constructed by the United States, the USS Missouri played a crucial role during World War II. A 19-year-old Missouri Senator’s daughter, Margaret Truman, was the sponsor of the ship and she ceremoniously christened it in New York City. She was the only woman to have a role in the construction of the ship. Miss Truman was accompanied by a large crowd of Navy leaders, government officials and workers as she ceremoniously smashed a bottle of champagne on the Missouri’s hull to officially launch it into service.
The USS Missouri helped scout and support the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, shelled Japan’s home islands and anchored in Tokyo Harbor when Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers on September 2, 1945.
The USS Missouri remained in service for the next 30 years after WWII before it was decommissioned and placed in mothballs at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington State. She was heavily modified and reactivated in the 1980s as part of President Reagan’s 600-ship Navy program, and she was recommissioned in 1986. In 1991, she was sent to the Persian Gulf when Iraq invaded Kuwait and fired her Tomahawk Cruise missiles at targets there. The ship was retired in 1992 after the Gulf War and is now on display at Pearl Harbor in the USS Missouri Memorial in Honolulu.
Why Visit the Battleship?
The Battleship Missouri Memorial is a great place to learn about the history of the USS Missouri and experience Pearl Harbor. It’s also a fun place for kids to explore the ship and see where World War II ended.
Tours are included in General Admission tickets, and a knowledgeable guide will help you navigate the ship and answer your questions along the way. You’ll even have the option to upgrade your ticket to a more in-depth tour that takes you deep inside the ship.
You’ll have to plan ahead because tours are limited to the ship’s main deck and upper levels, and they run from 8:00am-5:30pm daily. If you’d like to take a longer, in-depth look at the ship’s history, you can choose the Heart of the Missouri tour.