New Famous Ships
From Movies And Television
37 model ship choices
Historically Significant Ships
75 model ship choices
Civil War Ships
6 model ship choices
66 model ship choices
United States Warships
25 model ship choices
United States Coast Guard
18 model ship choices
Civil War Ships
6 model ship choices
Warships from the Age of Sail
59 model ship choices
New Speed Boats
9 model ship choices
2 model ship choices
Pre 1940's Speedboats
4 model ship choices
Remote Control Speedboats
13 model ship choices
New RC Boats
Remote Control Sailboats
23 model ship choices
Museum Quality RC Speedboats
6 model ship choices
Toy RC Model Boats
37 model ship choices
New Fishing Boats
Fishing Boats from Movies and TV
5 model ship choices
Decorative Fishing Boats
29 model ship choices
Nautical Christmas Tree Ornaments
99 model ship choices
Model Ship Christmas Ornaments
38 model ship choices
Beach Christmas Tree Ornaments
63 model ship choices
USS Missouri 34" Description
Ready for Immediate Display - Not a Model Ship kit
Make a powerful statement with this USS Missouri battleship model warship as the "Big Stick" in your home or office. Finely crafted with high-quality detailing, this model of the US Navy's "Big Mo" is certain to impress all who gaze upon her.
34" Long (1:313 scale)
- Built from scratch by master artisans
- All metal parts used to construct this model warship
- Amazing Details, including:
- Highly detailed superstructure and masts
- Dozens of individual gun emplacements
- Incredible detailing of main turrets
- Includes two rail-launched sea-planes with recovery cranes
- Metal railings, dozens of lifeboats, numerous cannon and torpedo launchers and many other accurate details surround deck and superstructure
- Highly detailed superstructure and masts
- Meticulous painting accurately matches the actual USS Missouri
- Wooden display base features four arched dolphins
- Pictured with marble base (available for purchase)
- Extensive research of original plans, museum and historical drawings as well as actual photographs ensures the highest possible accuracy
USS Missouri (BB-63) ("Mighty Mo" or "Big Mo") is a U.S. Navy battleship, and was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the U.S. state of Missouri. Missouri is the final battleship to be built by the United States, and among the Iowa-class battleships is notable for being the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan at the end of World War II. Missouri was ordered on June 12, 1940 and her keel was laid at the New York Navy Yard in the New York City borough of Brooklyn on January 6, 1941.
During her career Missouri saw action in World War II during the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Battle of Okinawa, and shelled the Japanese home islands of Hokkaidō and Honshū. After World War II she returned to the United States before being called up and dispatched to fight in the Korean War. Upon her return to the United States she was decommissioned into the United States Navy reserve fleets, better known as the "Mothball Fleet" in 1955. She was reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, and participated in the 1991 Gulf War.
Missouri was decommissioned a final time on March 31, 1992, having received a total of eleven battle stars for service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf. She was maintained on the Naval Vessel Register until January 1995, when her name was struck. In 1998 she was donated to the Missouri Memorial Association, and is presently 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 January 29, 1944 and commissioned on June 11. The ship was the third of the Iowa class, but the fourth and final battleship commissioned by the US Navy. The ship was christened at her launching by Mary Margaret Truman, daughter of Harry S. Truman, then a senator from Missouri.
Missouri’s main battery consisted of nine 16 inch (406 mm)/50 caliber Mark 7 naval guns, which could hurl 2,700 lb armor piercing shells some 24 nautical miles (44 km). Her secondary battery consisted of ten 5 inch (127 mm)/38 caliber guns, which could fire at targets up to 9 miles (14 km) away. 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.
Although USS Wisconsin (BB-64) is numerically the highest numbered US battleship built, she was actually completed before Missouri, making Missouri the last completed US battleship.
World War II (1944–1945)
Shakedown and Service with Task Force 58, Admiral Mitscher
After trials off New York and shakedown and battle practice in Chesapeake Bay, Missouri departed Norfolk November 11, 1944, transited the Panama Canal November 18 and steamed to San Francisco for final fitting out as fleet flagship. She stood out of San Francisco Bay December 14 and arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii December 24, 1944. She departed Hawaii on January 2, 1945 and arrived in Ulithi, West Caroline Islands, January 13, 1945. There she was temporary headquarters ship for Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher. The battleship put to sea January 27 to serve in the screen of the Lexington carrier task group of Mitscher's TF 58, and on February 16 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 February 19. After TF 58 returned to Ulithi March 5, Missouri was assigned to the Yorktown carrier task group. On March 14, 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 March 18, 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 March 22, 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 March 24, 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 April 1. Planes from the carriers shattered a special Japanese attacking force led by battleship Yamato April 7. 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 April 11, Missouri opened fire on a low-flying kamikaze plane which penetrated the curtain of her shells and crashed on the 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; yet the battleship suffered only superficial damage, and the fire was brought quickly under control. The remains of the pilot's body was 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 deserved a military funeral. Not all of the crew agreed with that decision —the pilot was still their enemy and had tried to kill them —but the Captain's orders were respected and the following day the pilot was buried at sea with military honors.
About 23:05 on April 17, 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 Bataan and four destroyers, which sank Japanese submarine I-56.
Missouri was detached from the carrier task force off Okinawa May 5 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.
Service with the 3rd Fleet, Admiral Halsey
Missouri arrived Ulithi May 9, 1945 and thence proceeded to Apra Harbor, Guam, May 18. That afternoon Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander 3d Fleet, broke his flag in Missouri. She passed out of the harbor on May 21, and by May 27 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 June 2 and June 3. She rode out a fierce storm on June 5 and June 6 that wrenched the bow off the cruiser Pittsburgh. Some topside fittings were smashed, but Missouri suffered no major damage. Her fleet again struck Kyūshū on June 8, then hit hard in a coordinated air-surface bombardment before retiring towards Leyte. She arrived at San Pedro, Leyte, on June 13, 1945, after almost three months of continuous operations in support of the Okinawa campaign.
Here she prepared to lead the 3rd Fleet in strikes at the heart of Japan from within its home waters. The mighty fleet set a northerly course on July 8 to approach the Japanese mainland. Raids took Tokyo by surprise on July 10, followed by more devastation at the juncture of Honshū and Hokkaidō on July 13 and July 14. For the first time a naval gunfire force wrought destruction on a major installation within the home islands when Missouri closed the shore to join in a bombardment on July 15 that rained destruction on the Nihon Steel Co. and the Wanishi Ironworks at Muroran, Hokkaido.
During the nights of July 17 and July 18 Missouri bombarded industrial targets in Honshū. Inland Sea aerial strikes continued through July 25, 1945, and Missouri guarded the carriers as they struck hard blows at the Japanese capital. As July ended the Japanese no longer had any home waters. Missouri had led her fleet to gain control of the air and sea approaches to the very shores of Japan.
Strikes on Hokkaidō and northern Honshū resumed on August 9, 1945, the day the second atomic bomb was dropped. On August10, 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, August 15, was word received that President Harry S. Truman had announced Japan's acceptance of unconditional surrender.
Signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender
Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser of the Royal Navy, the Commander of the British Pacific Fleet, boarded Missouri on August 16 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 Iowa for temporary duty with the initial occupation force for Tokyo on August 21. Missouri herself entered Tokyo Bay early on August 29 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 September 2, including (but not limited to) Free French General Leclerc, Republic of China General Hsu Yung-Ch'ang, Soviet Lieutenant-General Kuzma Nikolaevich Derevyanko, Australian General Sir Thomas Blamey, Canadian Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrave, 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 the 23 minute surrender ceremony was broadcast to the waiting world.
During the surrender ceremony the deck of the Missouri was decorated with just two American flags. One had flown on the mast of Commodore Perry's ship when he had sailed into that same bay nearly a century earlier to urge the opening of Japan's ports to foreign trade. The other U.S. flag came off the battleship while anchored in Tokyo Bay, it had not flown over the White House or the Capitol Building on December 7, 1941, it was "...just a plain ordinary GI flag."
By 09:30 the Japanese emissaries had departed. In the afternoon of September 5th, Admiral Halsey transferred his flag to the battleship 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 September 20th and flew Admiral Nimitz's flag on the afternoon of September 28th for a reception.
The next day, Missouri departed Pearl Harbor bound for the eastern seaboard of the United States. She reached New York City on October 23, 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 March 21, 1946, she received the remains of the Turkish Ambassador to the United States Münir Ertegün. She departed March 22nd for Gibraltar and on April 5th 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 April 9th and entered Phaleron Bay, Piraeus, Greece the following day for an overwhelming welcome by Greek government officials and citizens. She had arrived in a year when there were ominous Russian overtures and activities in the entire Balkan area. Greece had become the scene of a Communist-inspired civil war, as Russia sought every possible extension of Soviet influence throughout the Mediterranean region. Demands were made that Turkey grant the Soviets a base of seapower in the Dodecanese Islands and joint control of the Turkish Straits leading from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.
The voyage of Missouri to the eastern Mediterranean comforted Greece and Turkey. News media proclaimed her a symbol of U.S. interest in preserving both nations' independence.
Missouri departed Piraeus April 26th, touching at Algiers and Tangiers before arriving Norfolk May 9th. She departed for Culebra Island May 12th 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 May 27th, 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 December 13th, during a target practice exercise in the North Atlantic, a star shell accidentally struck the battleship; fortunately, there were no reported injuries.
Missouri arrived in Rio de Janeiro on August 30, 1947 for the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Hemisphere Peace and Security. President Truman boarded September 2nd to celebrate the signing of the Rio Treaty, which broadened the Monroe Doctrine by stipulating that an attack on one of the signatory American states would be considered an attack on all.
The Truman family boarded Missouri September 7, 1947 to return to the United States and debarked at Norfolk September 19th. Her overhaul in New York —which lasted from September 23 to March 10, 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 November 1st 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 September 23, 1949 to January 17, 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 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.
Now the only U.S. battleship in commission, Missouri was proceeding seaward on a training mission from Hampton Roads early on January 17th 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. Seizing the opportunity to criticize the United States, the Soviet Union ran a story in its naval publication "Red Fleet" which criticized the grounding of the battleship. With the aid of tugboats, pontoons, and an incoming tide, she was refloated on February 1, 1950 and repaired shortly thereafter.
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,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 August 19th to support U.N. forces on the Korean peninsula.
Missouri joined the U.N. just west of Kyūshū on September 14th, where she became the flagship of Rear Admiral A. E. Smith. The first American battleship to reach Korean waters, she bombarded Samchok on September 15, 1950 in an attempt to divert troops and attention from the Inchon landings. This was the first time since WWII that Missouri had fired her guns in anger, and in company with the cruiser Helena and two destroyers, she helped prepare the way for the 8th Army offensive.
Missouri arrived at Inchon September 19th, and on October 10th became flagship of Rear Admiral J. M. Higgins, commander, Cruiser Division 5. She arrived at Sasebo on October 14th, where she became flagship of Vice Admiral A. D. Struble, Commander, 7th Fleet. After screening the aircraft carrier Valley Forge along the east coast of Korea, she conducted bombardment missions from October 12th to October 26th in the Chonjin and Tanchon areas, and at Wonsan where she again screened carriers eastward of Wonsan.
MacAurthor’s amphibious landings at Inchon 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.
Moreover, there was talk among the U.N. commanders—notably General Douglas MacArthur—about a potential campaign against the People's Republic of China. In an effort to dissuade U.N. forces from completely overrunning North Korea the Peoples 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. This changed abruptly on October 19, 1950, when the first of an eventual total of 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 December 23rd 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 December 24, 1950.
Missouri conducted additional operations with carriers and shore bombardments off the east coast of Korea until March 19, 1951. She arrived at Yokosuka March 24, and 4 days later was relieved of duty in the Far East. She departed Yokosuka March 28th, and upon arrival at Norfolk on April 27 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 October 18, 1951 for an overhaul, which lasted until January 30, 1952.
Following winter and spring training out of Guantanamo Bay, Missouri visited New York, then set course from Norfolk June 9, 1952 for another midshipman cruise. She returned to Norfolk August 4th and entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard to prepare for a second tour in the Korean combat zone.
Missouri stood out of Hampton Road on September 11, 1952 and arrived Yokosuka October 17th. She broke the flag of Vice Admiral Joseph J. Clark, commander of the 7th Fleet, on October 19. 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 October 25th through January 2, 1953.
Missouri put in to Inchon January 5, 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 January 23rd. In the following weeks, Missouri resumed "Cobra" patrol along the east coast of Korea to support troops ashore. Repeated strikes against Wonsan, Tanehon, Hungnam, and Kojo destroyed main supply routes along the eastern seaboard of Korea.
The last gunstrike mission by Missouri was against the Kojo area March 25rd . She sustained a grievous casualty March 6, 1953, when 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 April 6th by her older sister New Jersey.
Missouri departed Yokosuka April 7, 1953 and arrived Norfolk May 4th to become flagship for Rear Admiral E. T. Woolridge, commander, Battleships-Cruisers, Atlantic Fleet, May 14th. She departed June 8th on a midshipman training cruise, returned to Norfolk August 4th, and was overhauled in Norfolk Naval Shipyard November 20, 1953 to April 2, 1954. Now the flagship of Rear Admiral R. E. Kirby, who had relieved Admiral Woolridge, Missouri departed Norfolk June 7th as flagship of the midshipman training cruise to Lisbon and Cherbourg. During this voyage the Missouri was joined by the other three battleships of the class, USS New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Iowa, the only time the four ships sailed together. She returned Norfolk August 3rd and departed August 23rd for inactivation on the West Coast. After calls at Long Beach and San Francisco, Missouri arrived in Seattle September 15, 1954. Three days later she entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where she decommissioned February 26, 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 would pass before Missouri would again return 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 moved under tow to the Long Beach Naval Yard for modernization in the summer of 1984. During the modernization Missouri had all of her remaining Oerlikon 20 mm and Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns removed, due to their ineffectiveness against modern jet fighters and enemy anti-ship missiles; additionally, the two 5 in gun mounts located at mid-ship and in the aft on the port and starboard side of the battleship were removed.
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. Armed as such, Missouri was formally recommissioned in San Francisco, California on May 10, 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."
Four months later, the nation's most recently recommissioned battleship departed from her new home port of Long Beach for an around-the-world cruise, bringing the message of "Strength for Freedom" to: Hawaii, Australia including 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 USS Missouri (BB-11), the first battleship of that name.
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. These smaller caliber weapons were installed due to the threat of Iranian-manned, Swedish-made Boghammer cigarette boats operating in the Persian Gulf at the time. On July 25, 1987, the ship departed on a six-month deployment to the Indian Ocean and North Arabian Sea. The ship spent more than 100 continuous days at sea in a hot, tense environment—a striking contrast to the 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.
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.
1989 was a hectic year in the life of the Missouri. The early months found the ship in the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for routine maintenance. In Long Beach, American singer Cher filmed her controversial music video of "If I Could Turn Back Time" aboard, using crewmembers for extras. A few months later, the battleship departed for Pacific Exercise (PacEx)'89, where Missouri and her sister ship 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 and Korea in addition to United States Navy ships.
Gulf War (1990 to 1991)
On August 2, 1990 Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded Kuwait. In the middle of the month, 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 the Iraqi dictator.
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 November 13, 1990 for the troubled waters of the Persian Gulf. Amid the press coverage that a ship of the stature of Missouri is used to receiving, the historic dreadnought pulled away from Pier 6 at Long Beach 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 January 3, 1991. During subsequent operations leading up to Operation Desert Storm, Missouri prepared to launch Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) and provide on-call naval gunfire support.
Missouri fired her first Tomahawk missile at Iraqi targets at 01:40 on January 17, 1991, followed by 27 additional missiles over the next five days.
On January 29, 1991 the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate Curts, using advanced mine-avoidance sonar, led Missouri northward. In her first naval fire support action of the Gulf War, Missouri gun crews sent 2,700 lb shells crashing into an Iraqi command and control bunker near the Saudi border. It marked the first time her 16 inch (406 mm) guns had been fired in combat since March 1953 off Korea. In addition, the battleship bombarded Iraqi beach defenses in occupied Kuwait on the night of February 3rd, firing 112 16 inch rounds over the next three days until relieved by her sister ship Wisconsin. Missouri then fired another 60 rounds off Khafji February 11th and February 12th 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 February 23rd. The heavy pounding attracted Iraqi attention; in response to the battleship’s artillery strike, the Iraqi’s fired two HY-2 Silkworm missiles at the battleship. One of the two missiles launched missed Missouri, while the other Silkworm Missile was intercepted by GWS-30 Sea Dart missiles launched from the British air defence destroyer HMS Gloucester within 90 seconds and crashed into the sea roughly 700 yards (600 m) in front of Missouri.
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 February 25th Jarrett’s Phalanx engaged the chaff fired by Missouri as a countermeasure against enemy missiles, and stray rounds from the firing struck Missouri, one of which penetrated through a bulkhead and 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 2 miles 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. 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; however, no evidence to support this theory has ever been discovered.
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 past the reach of the battleship’s guns on February 26th, Missouri conducted patrol and armistice enforcement operations in the northern Persian Gulf until sailing for home on March 21, 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 December 7, 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 March 31, 1992 at Long Beach, California. Her last commanding officer, Captain Albert L. Kaiss, wrote this note in the ship's final Plan of the Day:
|“||Our final day has arrived. Today the final chapter in battleship Missouri’s history will be written. It's often said that the crew makes the command. There is no truer statement ... for it's the crew of this great ship that made this a great command. You are a special breed of sailors and Marines and I am proud to have served with each and every one of you. To you who have made the painful journey of putting this great lady to sleep, I thank you. For you have had the toughest job. To put away a ship that has become as much a part of you as you are to her is a sad ending to a great tour. But take solace in this—you have lived up to the history of the ship and those who sailed her before us. We took her to war, performed magnificently and added another chapter in her history, standing side by side our forerunners in true naval tradition. God bless you all.||”|
Missouri remained part of the reserve fleet at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, until January 12, 1995, when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. On May 4, 1998, Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton signed the donation contract that transferred the historic battleship to the nonprofit USS Missouri Memorial Association (MMA) of Honolulu, Hawaii. The ship 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 barnacles and sea grasses that had grown on her hull in Bremerton. With this action completed she was towed across the eastern Pacific, and was gently docked at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor on June 22, just 500 yards (about 450 meters) from the Arizona Memorial. Less than a year later, on January 29, 1999, Missouri was opened as a museum operated by the MMA.
Originally, the decision to move Missouri to Pearl Harbor 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 during December 7 air raid at Pearl Harbor has since become synonymous with the attack on Pearl Harbor. To help guard against this perception Missouri was placed well back of the Arizona Memorial, and positioned in Pearl Harbor in such a way as to prevent those participating in military ceremonies on Missouri’s aft decks from seeing 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.
Missouri is not eligible for designation as a National Historic Landmark,even though she is the last completed U.S. battleship and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 14, 1971 for hosting the signing of the instrument of Japanese surrender that ended World War II. This is because much of her original equipment was removed when she was reactivated and modernized in 1986, and her configuration changed to accommodate new weapons, which resulted in the loss of her historical integrity.
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, Korean, and the Persian Gulf.