Missouri – Iowa class battleship, 1944

Missouri - Iowa class battleship Missouri – Iowa class battleship, 1944

Missouri, known to those who served in her as the ‘Mighty Mo’, was the last battleship ever built by the United States. Ordered in 1940, she was commissioned in June 1944, and subsequently took part in the operations off Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Japanese home islands, becoming the flagship of Admiral William Halsey, C-in-C Third Fleet, in May 1945. Following her service in the Korean War 1950-53 she was placed in reserve. Reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the Reagan Administration’s 600-Ship Navy Plan, Missouri received Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles and Phalanx anti-missile guns and subsequently fought in the 1991 Gulf War. The ship was finally decommissioned in 1992. In 1998 she was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association and became a museum ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The pivotal moment in Missouri’s long and distinguished career took place on 2 September 1945, when she hosted the formal surrender of the Empire of Japan while anchored in Tokyo Bay. The ceremony was attended by high-ranking military officers of all the Allied powers, including the British, the Dutch, the French and the Soviets. The United States was represented by Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Allied Commander; the Japanese delegation was led by Foreign Minister Mamoru Sigemitsu.


887ft x 108ft x 36ft (270m x 33m x 11m)
48,000 tons
Machinery: four-shaft General Electric geared steam turbines, 212,000shp, 32.5 knots
Armour: belt 12in (305mm), deck 6in (150mm), turrets 19.7in (490mm)
Armament: 9 x 16in (406mm), 20 x 5in (127mm), 80 x 40mm
Complement: 1,920
Builder: New York Navy Yard

Ship of the Day banner Taken from Ship, edited by Andrew Lambert.

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