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USS Missouri

(BB 63) the last U.S. battleship to be launched, and the last to be decommissioned

USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay

Basic Facts

Class: Iowa battleship
Length: 887 feet
Height: 209 feet from keel to mast
Beam: 108 feet
Displacement (unloaded): 45,000 tons
Displacement (loaded): 58,000 tons
Top Speed: 33 knots
Crew: 1,921


nine 16-inch guns, each capable of firing a 2,700-pound shell 23 miles in 50 seconds with pinpoint accuracy
twenty 5-inch anti-aircraft guns


Hull: 13.5 inches
Gun Turret Fronts: 17 inches
Gun Turret Sides: 13 inches
Citadel: 17 inches
Conning Tower: 17.3 inches

Basic History

The Missouri's keel was laid at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on January 6, 1941. She was sponsored by Margaret Truman, daughter of then Congressman from Missouri, Harry Truman. She was launched on January 29, 1944, and commissioned on June 11, 1944, with Captain William M. Callaghan in command.

After undergoing a shake-down cruise and a series of training exercises, she was assigned to the Pacific Third Fleet, then based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She arrived there on Christmas Eve of 1944.

During World War II, the Missouri was part of the naval force that carried out bombing raids on Tokyo. She provided firepower in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During the final month of the war, she served as Admiral William Halsey's flagship for the Pacific Third Fleet. And, most importantly, she was the site of Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces, on September 2, 1945.

The Missouri was the first U.S. battleship to be deployed during the Korean War, and played a major role during that conflict.

In 1955, the Missouri was decommissioned and mothballed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. She remained there until 1984, when she was taken out of mothballs and sent to Long Beach Naval Shipyard for extensive modernization and refurbishment in order to become part of President Ronald Reagan's newly revitalized U.S. Navy. She was recommissioned on May 10, 1986. In 1987, she was sent to the Persian Gulf as a show of force and U.S. support of her allies during the Middle East crisis.

The Missouri was again deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991. Her 16-inch guns and Tomahawk missiles were important parts of the U.S. offensive during Operation Desert Storm, which drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.

The Missouri's final action came on December 7, 1991, when she led a contingent of ships into Pearl Harbor as part of the commemoration ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack.

The Missouri was decommissioned for the final time on March 31, 1992, and was removed from the Navy's official ship registry in 1995. She was officially transferred into the possession of the USS Missouri Memorial Association on May 4, 1998, and is now on permanent display at Pearl Harbor, near the USS Arizona Memorial.

Official Website

Battleship Missouri Memorial

See Also

World War II
Battle of Iwo Jima
Battle of Okinawa

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The Robinson Library >> Ships of the United States Navy, A-Z

This page was last updated on 01/29/2019.