Battleship Missouri

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The USS Missouri, the last battleship built by the United States, ruled the seas when she fired her nine 16-inch guns. Her lasting fame, however, rests not on her awesome firepower, but on her role as a peacemaker. It was on her upper deck that Japan formally surrendered to the Allied Powers on September 2, 1945 to end World War II.

Launched in 1944, "Mighty Mo" provided artillery support for the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa before President Truman picked the battleship named after his home state to witness the dramatic ceremony broadcast over radio around the world. A circular brass plaque set in the deck marks the exact location of the table that General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz and the Japanese representatives sat down at to sign the documents of unconditional surrender in Tokyo Bay.

The Missouri also served with distinction in the Korean War between 1950-1953 and, after reactivation and modernization, in the Persian Gulf War, 1990-1991. Decommissioned for the second time in 1992, the battleship spent six years in mothballs before being released to the Navy in 1998 and towed to its permanent home in Pearl Harbor. The Battleship Missouri Memorial was opened to the public on January 29, 1999, exactly 55 years to the day after its launch at the New York Navy Yard.

Ronn Ronck tells the full, exciting story of this floating fortress in Battleship Missouri, from its christening by President Truman's daughter, Margaret, to its final resting place overlooking the Arizona Memorial, which straddles the sunken hull of the USS Arizona. Historic photographs gathered from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. trace the ship's remarkable half-century of service to the nation. A special chapter reveals what life was like in "Wartime Hawaii" between the Japanese attack that sunk the Arizona and the new era of peace achieved aboard the Missouri.

Today the Battleship Missouri Memorial is open to the public and thousands of visitors a day tour the famous ship from bow to stern, climb up to its bridge, examine its big guns, and walk the decks where history was made. Like battleship bookends, the Arizona and Missouri memorials in Pearl Harbor provide an unparalleled opportunity to experience the dramatic events of World War II from beginning to end.

About the author: Ronn Ronck, a former U.S. Navy journalist, was a staff writer for the Pacific Daily News in Guam and the Honolulu Advertiser in Hawaii. He is now with the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C. Ronck is the author or editor of many popular books about Hawaii from Mututal Publishing.

Soft cover. 71 pages. 8.5 inches by 11 inches.

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