THE "MIGHTY MO"
Iowa-class battleships were designed for speed and firepower. Four Iowa-class battleships were built during World War II including the USS Missouri, the keel of which was laid on January 6, 1941 at the New York Naval Shipyard. Its armament included the main battery of nine 16-inch guns and twelve 5-inch anti-aircraft guns.
The USS Missouri was launched on January 29, 1944 and commissioned on June 11, 1944. It was assigned to the Pacific Third Fleet and steamed into Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1944.
The Missouri was part of the force that carried out bombing raids over Tokyo and provided firepower in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During the war's final month the "Mighty Mo" served as Admiral William "Bull" Halsey's flagship for the Pacific Third Fleet.
The USS Missouri secured its place in history as the site of Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces on September 2, 1945, ending World War II. The ceremony for the signing of the Formal Instrument of Surrender was conducted by General Douglas MacArthur.
In 1955, after providing heavy artillery support for the United Nations forces in the Korean War, the Missouri was decommissioned and mothballed at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
In 1986, the USS Missouri was recommissioned after undergoing an extensive modernization and refurbishment. In 1991, the Mighty Mo was deployed to the Persian Gulf where it fired its 16-inch guns and launched Tomahawk missiles against Iraqi positions during Desert Storm.
The Missouri's final operational mission occurred on December 7, 1991, when the battleship led a contingent of ships into Pearl Harbor as part of the commemoration to mark the 50th anniversary of the attack that thrust America into World War II.
In 1992, the Missouri was decommissioned for the second time. In 1995, it was removed from the Navy's ship registry, clearing the way for the battleship to be donated by the Navy for preservation as a memorial museum.
In August 1996, the Navy selected the USS Missouri Memorial Association as caretaker for the battleship and Pearl Harbor as its permanent home. On May 4, 1998, the Navy made it official, transferring the Mighty Mo's care to the Association.