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“Mighty Mo” Superstructure Unveiled

Battleship Missouri Memorial Underwent Yearlong Restoration of its Superstructure

A newly restored part of the Mighty Mo’s Superstructure is now open to visitors touring the retired ship. For the past year, the Battleship Missouri Memorial has been hard at work restoring the ship’s Superstructure, 04 Navigation Bridge, which includes the Chart House, Captain’s At-Sea Cabin, Pilot House and Conning Tower, and the 05 Open Bridge.

The Superstructure is the tallest section of the historic USS Missouri rising approximately 110 feet above the main deck, with a mast extending more than 50 feet above the major structure.

The project took three years of planning followed by a year of repair and preservation work. All of the work was done during the evening hours after the “Mighty Mo” closed for tours each day.

“The work that was done to the ship’s Superstructure was essential preservation work to ensure the USS Missouri is being properly maintained for future generations,” said Michael A. Carr, President and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, caretaker of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. “We are excited to reopen the Battleship Missouri Memorial’s newly restored Bridges to visitors as it features new elements that will provide a more meaningful tour experience.”

The newly restored Navigation Bridge will include exhibit text panels featuring four languages – English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. This exhibit will make the Battleship Missouri Memorial one of the first museums in the state of Hawaii to incorporate four languages on exhibit text panels.

An immersive audio experience, recorded with the help of active duty sailors, allows visitors a glimpse into what the ship might have sounded like on December 7, 1991 when the Missouri entered Pearl Harbor for the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the attack on the Hawaiian Islands.

At $3.5 million, the repair and preservation of the superstructure is the largest and most expensive project undertaken by the Association since the battleship was placed into dry-dock more than seven years ago. The Association, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, funded the project entirely on its own, primarily through ticket sales of guests touring the battleship.

In addition to the repair and preservation work, the Association installed replicas of two SLQ-32 electronic warfare antennas, as well as a radome involved in the operation of remotely piloted vehicle onto the Superstructure. This equipment was part of the USS Missouri before its decommissioning in 1992.

With the installation of these prominent items, the Association will take a major step to meeting its historical preservation goal of restoring the USS Missouri to its overall appearance on December 7, 1991.

By returning the Battleship Missouri Memorial to the former glory of the Mighty Mo prior to its decommissioning, the Association is focused on preserving the past to educate future generations about the USS Missouri’s service during peace and war.

About the USS Missouri (BB-63)

Class: Iowa-class battleship

Length: 887 feet

Height: 209 feet from keel to mast

Beam: 108 feet

Weight: 58,000 tons (full load); 45,000 tons (unloaded)

Speed: In excess of 30 knots (35 mph)

The USS Missouri’s keel was laid on January 6, 1941, at the New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn. Designing the Missouri took 175 tons of blueprint paper. The ship was built in three years and required over 3 million man-days to complete the job.

The USS Missouri was launched January 29, 1944 and commissioned on June 11, 1944. She was assigned to the Pacific Third Fleet and steamed into Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1944.

The USS Missouri was the last battleship ever built and the most formidable. Built for speed and firepower and possessed thick steel armor plating that protected the hull (13.5 inches), the gun turrets (17 inches in front; 13 inches on the sides), the citadel (17 inches), and the conning tower sides (17.3 inches).

The nine 16-inch guns are the Mighty Mo’s trademark feature. Each gun barrel is 65 feet long, weighs an incredible 116 tons, and can fire a 2,700-pound shell 23 miles in 50 seconds — with pinpoint accuracy.

World War II: The USS Missouri was part of the force that carried out bombing raids over Tokyo and provided firepower in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The Mighty Mo 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 to sign the Formal Instrument of Surrender was conducted by Supreme Allied Commander General Douglas A. MacArthur.

Korean War: The Mighty Mo’s main battery firepower became legendary in Korea, with her nine 16-inch guns hurling shells as heavy as Volkswagens long-range in defense of U.S. land forces.

Decommissioning: In 1955, the USS Missouri was decommissioned and mothballed at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington State.

Recommissioning: The USS Missouri was recommissioned in 1986 after undergoing an extensive modernization and refurbishment.

Persian Gulf: The Mighty Mo was deployed to the Persian Gulf where it fired its 16-inch guns and launched Tomahawk missiles against Iraqi positions during Operation Desert Storm.

Last mission: The USS 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.

Second decommissioning: In 1992, the USS 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.

Her legacy: 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.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial’s newly restored superstructure now open to visitors touring the retired ship.

 Close up of the newly restored superstructure.

About the Battleship Missouri Memorial

Since opening in January 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial has attracted more than seven million visitors from around the world with a fascinating tour experience showcasing the USSMissouri’s unique place in history. Located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Mighty Mo completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” and sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and ends with Japan’s formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

The USS Missouri had an astounding career over five decades and three wars – World War II, the Korean War, and Desert Storm – after which it was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Association operates the Battleship Missouri Memorial as a historic attraction and oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants, and donations.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. General admission, which includes choice of an optional tour, is $29 per adult and $13 per child (4-12). Military, kama‘aina (local resident) and school group pricing is available.

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