The retired battleship USS Missouri, or "Mighty Mo," is now a historical attraction on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. It sits next to the famous USS Arizona on "Battleship Row," the location where numerous battleships were sunk by the Japanese long December 7th 1941.
The Missouri was launched in 1944, then decommissioned for the first time in 1955. During the first year of service, the ship fought in the Pacific during WWII, and it famously served as the site if the Japanese surrender to end the war. The ship was recommissioned decades later in 1986, it served in the Persian Gulf War, then it was permanently decommissioned in 1992.
Entry to the ship costs $22 per person, and it allows you to take guided, or self guided tours of about 6 different levels of the ships. Below decks you will find crew living and eating quarters, on the main deck, you will see the big guns and views of nearby memorials, and the upper levels house the command deck, from which the ship was steered and weapons fired.
An area immediately above the main deck is called the "surrender deck," which has a brass plaque marking the spot on the ship where Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender to end World War II. This deck also has a glass case containing copies of the surrender document, along with a replica of one of the pens MacArthur used to sign the document as the senior Allied representative. Nearby are plaques and interpretive signs with additional details about the surrender and those present to represent their nations.
The USS Missouri is located on Pearl Harbor's Ford Island, an active US Navy installation. Non-military people can visit the Missouri, but they must take a bus from the USS Arizona visitors center. The bus ride is only about 10 minutes.
A plaque next to the surrender deck reads:
The instrument of surrender terminating the Second World War was signed on this ship, 2 September 1945 east longitude date while she lay at anchor in Tokyo Bay.
The Allied representatives were
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, The Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, United States of America
General Hsu Yung-Ch’ang, Republic of China
Admiral Sir Bruce A Fraser, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Lieutenant General Kuzma Nikilaevich Derevyanko, Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics
General Sir Thomas Blamey, Commonwealth of Australia
Colonel L. Moore Cosgrave, Canada
General Jacques Le Clerc, Republic of France
Air Vice Marshall Leonard M. Isitt, Dominion of New Zealand
Admiral C. E. L. Helfrich, Kingdom of the Netherlands
with their staffs and observing flag and general officers.
The Japanese representatives were
Mamoru Shigemitsu, Japanese Foreign Minister
General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of Staff, Japanese Army Headquarters
with nine staff and observing officers.
At 0904, the Japanese representatives signed the instrument of their country’s surrender.
At 0908, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers signed for all the nations joined in the war against Japan. He was accompanied by Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright, the Commanding General at the Fall of Corregidor in 1942, and by Lieutenant General Arthur Percival, the Commanding General at the Fall of Singapore in the same year.
At 0912, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz signed for the United States. He was accompanied by Admiral William F. Halsey, Commander of the United States Third Fleet and by Rear Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, Deputy Chief of Staff to Admiral Nimitz. Representatives of the other Allied Nations then signed. This completed the ceremony of surrender.
A plaque imbedded in the deck of the Missouri, located at the exact spot of the signing of the Instrument of Surrender reads:
U.S.S. Missouri. Over this spot on 2 September 1945 the Instrument of Formal Surrender of Japan to the Allied Powers was signed thus bringing to a close the Second World War. The ship at that time was anchored in Tokyo Bay. Latitude 35° 21′ 17″ North ~ Longitude 139° 45′ 36″ East.
Your visit to Pearl Harbor would not be complete without taking a tour of the "Mighty Mo"! Most tour packages include both Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri so definitely take advantage of that. Its not often that citizens get to tour a USS battleship much less one that has as much history as the Missouri. The tour is excellent and they do a good job of intertwining history with explanations of what it like to be on a battleship. Some of the highlights of the tour are seeing where a WWII Japanese plane crashed into the battleship and the story behind it is quite memorable...don't worry I won't spill the beans! The best part of the tour is where they show you the seal that shows exactly the spot where the peace accord was signed. The tour takes about two hours and is a unique way to finish out your day after visiting Pearl Harbor.
Honor our forefathers by touring the Mighty Mo. Walk her teakwood decks and stand on the very spot where the Japanese surrender took place at the end of WWII. Look down the barrel of her 16 inch guns and think about the power they held in firing a 2,700 pound (1,225kg) projectile and landing it within 25 yards (23m) of their target at a distance of 23 miles (37km)! Check my Travel Logue for a photo of the 16 inch shell.
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