Battleship Missouri Memorial
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
visited December, 2000
USS Missouri (BB-63) DANFS
My visit to the Missouri took place immediately after visiting the USS Arizona Memorial. The somber mood of the Arizona lifted as I climbed onboard the trolley which whisked us across the bridge to Ford Island (the longest bridge in the Hawaiian Islands), through the gates and across the island to the Missouri. Ford Island remains an active Navy Base and you cannot take your own vehicle onto the island without a Navy pass. On the short trip across Ford Island the driver pointed out the old airstrip and control tower used in World War II.
The Missouri is in excellent condition as are the other Iowas. The foundation is currently engaged in raising funds to allow more of the ship to be open. Our guide said that OSHA regulations prevent more of the ship from being open. Still, in time the Missouri will open more areas to visitors. You are welcome to visit the weather deck, climb the fire control tower to the top of the bridge structure, and wander through selected belowdeck areas. With a guided tour, you also can see CIC and visit the decoding room (minus the equipment, of course.) The foundation operates a snack shop in the aft galley, where you can munch on a hot dog and imagine you're in the Persian Gulf in 1991. Back out on the deck, examine the dent in the hull armor where a Japanese plane crashed in 1945. Be sure to see the Surrender Deck, where the Japanese and Allies signed the document that ended World War II. A plaque is embedded in the deck where the table stood that day. The Missouri is berthed approximately where USS Oklahoma was moored on December 7, 1941 (stand at the starboard rail and imagine seeing the torpedo planes gliding down the loch straight at you), and off the port quarter appears to be the remains of the pier where the oiler USS Neosho lay that morning. More recent activity was indicated on the Missouri's pier, where a fenced area contained two of her Phalanx systems, removed by the Navy for use elsewhere.
The ship also offers sweeping views of Pearl Harbor, the Oahu mountain ranges and the Arizona Memorial. Although a good percentage of the Pacific Fleet appeared to be at sea that day, a few ships were visible at the docks. Be sure to have sunscreen and dollar bills for refreshments. Walking the decks of the Missouri in the Hawaiian sun can be a very warm experience.
Update - December, 2002
The security arrangements have dramatically changed since my visit in December 2000. Be sure to check the Missouri's website (listed below the photographs) for updated information on what items are permitted onboard and any security procedures you will need to follow.
(click on thumbnails to show the larger image)
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