An Intimidating Presence
The Iowa-class was the final, and largest class of 4 U.S. battleships that were commissioned during WWII. The third of them was the USS Missouri, in June 1944. It was assigned to the Pacific Theater and participated in action around Okinawa, Iwo Jima and the main Japanese islands. In fact the signing ceremony of Japan’s surrender documents took place on the Missouri’s decks on September 3, 1945. Following the end of the Korean War, she was mothballed at the reserve fleet anchorage. Come 1986, however, she was refitted with various modern weaponry such as Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles, in addition to Vulcan and Phalanx weapons, to rejoin the U.S. Navy. Along with her sister ship the Wisconsin, the Missouri was deployed in the Gulf War in 1991 and fired some 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles on the first day of the conflict. In total, she fired in excess of 750 16-inch rounds in support of land troops. In March 1992 she was decommissioned once more after some 50 years of service, and she now resides in Pearl Harbor as a museum ship.