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On Walkabout On: The USS Missouri In Hawaii

he USS Arizona Memorial is without the must see attraction on Oahu, but a great way to wrap up the day is by taking a trip over to see the USS Missouri:

Picture from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Construction on the battleship began in 1940 and was commissioned in 1944 and saw action in the Pacific during World War II.  The ship is most famously known as being the site where representatives of the Empire of Japan signed the Instruments of Surrender to end World War II.  The Missouri popularly known as “Big Mo” would then go on to fight in the Korean War using its huge guns to shell communist positions on the peninsula.  The ship was mothballed in 1955 and sat way for 30 years until the ship was called back into service in 1986.  The ship was modernized and saw action in the Gulf War by launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi positions.

The ship was decommissioned again in 1992 and in 1998 was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association and turned into a museum at Pearl Harbor:

Picture from the USS Missouri

Admission prices to tour the ship depends on what kind of tour you want to take.  General admission is $16, but various guided tours cost even more.  I went ahead and just took the $16 guided tour and toured around the ship myself.  The first thing I noticed when boarding the ship was how large the guns are:

Picture from the USS Missouri

Once I was on board and standing below the guns, they looked even more impressive:

Picture from the USS Missouri

The nine 16-inch guns are the Mighty Mo’s trademark feature. Each gun barrel is to approximately 67 feet long, weighs an incredible 116 tons, and can fire a 2,700-pound shell 23 miles in 50 seconds.

From the deck of this old battleship it is possible to see the smaller, but much more hi-tech US Navy fleet docked in Pearl Harbor today:

Picture from the USS Missouri

From the USS Missouri there are also some good views looking back towards Honolulu to include this large pink building on a hill:

Picture from the USS Missouri

For those that don’t know the large pink building on the hill that can be seen from most places in Honolulu is the Tripler Army Medical Center.  This hospital is the largest military hospital in the Asia/Pacific region.

After checking out the large guns and the view from the front of the ship, I then walked over to what is easily the most famous aspect of this ship and that is the location on the deck where the Imperial Japanese signed the Instruments of Surrender ending World War II:

Picture from the USS Missouri

Picture from the USS Missouri

The area where the documents were signed is actually much smaller in real life then what it appears to be in the old historic photographs of the surrender ceremony:

The documents there were signed during this ceremony are now on display and it is possible to see the signatures of everyone who participated in the ceremony to include General Douglas MacArthur:

Picture from the USS Missouri

Picture from the USS Missouri

At the point where the Japanese surrendered there is now a plaque installed recognizing the significance of this location:

Picture from the USS Missouri

After checking out this historic area I then began to climb up some stairs to the upper deck up the ship.  When viewing the ship from the upper deck I was really able to appreciate how large this ship is:

Picture from the USS Missouri

The Missouri is big you could stand the ship on end, it would be 332 feet taller than the Washington Monument.

Here are some more interesting facts to put the size of the ship into perspective, suc as the Missouri is 279 feet longer and 11 feet wider than the USS Arizona.   The Mighty Mo is also 5 feet longer and 18 feet wider than the RMS Titanic.

Trust me this is one big ship.

Anyway, from the upper deck I then proceeded to enter into the interior of the ship.  The inside of the ship is a bit claustrophobic and almost maze like.  If it wasn’t for the tour direction arrows I could definitely see myself getting lost inside this ship. However, one area that wasn’t claustrophobic was the galley:

Picture from the USS Missouri

This area was actually quite large and it would have to be to accommodate the over 1,850 US Navy servicemembers that would work on this ship whenever it went out to sea.

The Non-commissioned Officer lounge also wasn’t too cramped either:

Picture from the USS Missouri

Likewise with the Officer’s Mess area as well:

Picture from the USS Missouri

However, where the sailors slept was extremely cramped as is evident by this photo:

Picture from the USS Missouri

That there folks is why I am not in the Navy.  I’d rather live in an Army tent then live in tuna can like that.  Anyway it was an interesting walk through the ship and its glorious past history.  I actually spent about two hours walking through the ship.  I would say I got my $16 worth out of the tour and doing this tour in the afternoon after completing the USS Arizona tour in the morning made for a great day out.

However, for people who are not into military history and are already burned out from dealing with the long lines at the USS Arizona Memorial I recommend passing on the Mighty Mo then.  For people who only come to Hawaii once, spending an afternoon on a dusty battleship may not be their idea of fun, but it was a great time for me.

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