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USS Missouri (BB-63) 

"Mighty Mo" 

USS Missouri (BB-63)

USS Missouri (BB-63) fires a fifteen-gun (nine 16-inch and six 5-inch) broadside, during maneuvers in the Hawaiian Operations Area, circa July-August 1987. Letterpress reproduction of a photograph by PH1 Terry A. Cosgrove. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

The fourth Missouri (BB-63) was laid down 6 January 1941; launched 29 January 1944; and commissioned 11 June 1944, with Captain William M. Callaghan in command. The ships sponsor was Margaret Truman, daughter of then-senator from Missouri, Harry S. Truman.

Born in battle, Missouri steamed to Iwo Jima to support invasion landings, participated in the bombardment of Okinawa and struck hard blows against the Japanese mainland. On 15 August 1945, President Truman announced Japan’s acceptance of unconditional surrender. On 2 September 1945, high-ranking military officials of all the Allied Powers, to include Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, came aboard Missouri to meet Japanese representatives for a 23-minute surrender ceremony that was broadcasted around the world.

Although most remember Missouri as the symbolic end of World War II, she was a highly decorated battleship that earned eight battle stars during her service to the nation—three during World War II and five during the Korean War. Missouri was also the first battleship to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi targets at the commencement of Operation Desert Storm.

On 7 December 1991, Missouri took part in a “voyage to remembrance” to mark the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks. During that ceremony, Missouri hosted President George H.W. Bush, the first such presidential visit for the battleship since Harry Truman boarded her on September 1947.

On 31 March 1992, Missouri was decommissioned and remained part of the reserve fleet until 12 January 1995, when she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. Missouri was donated as a museum and memorial ship on 4 May 1998, and today rests near the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.


Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945.

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, signs the Instrument of Surrender as United States Representative, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Standing directly behind him are (left-to-right): General of the Army Douglas MacArthur; Admiral William F. Halsey, USN, and Rear Admiral Forrest Sherman, USN. In front row, background, are (left to right): Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman, USN; Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, USN; Vice Admiral John S. McCain, USN; Vice Admiral John H. Towers, USN; Admiral Richmond K. Turner, USN; Rear Admiral Robert B. Carney, USN; General Walter C. Krueger, U.S. Army; General Robert L. Eichelberger, U.S. Army and General Carl A. Spaatz, USAAF. Others identified behind the front row include (in no order): Brigadier General Joseph H. Fellows, USMC; Captain Tom B. Hill, USN; Commodore J.C. Cronin, USN; Rear Admiral Ingram C. Sowell, USN; Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, USN; Rear Admiral Howard F. Kingman, USN; Rear Admiral Lloyd J. Wiltsie, USN; Rear Admiral J. Cary Jones, USN; Captain John S. Thach, USN and Commodore Joel T. Boone, USN(MC). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Published: Tue Jun 18 13:53:52 EDT 2024