The fourth Missouri (BB-63) was laid down Jan. 6, 1941; launched Jan. 29, 1944; and commissioned June 11, 1944, with Capt. 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 Aug. 15, 1945, President Truman announced Japan’s acceptance of unconditional surrender. On Sept. 2, 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 Dec. 7, 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 March 31, 1992, Missouri was decommissioned and remained part of the reserve fleet until Jan. 12, 1995, when she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. Missouri was donated as a museum and memorial ship on May 4, 1998, and today rests near the Arizona (BB-39) Memorial at Pearl Harbor.