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Once back at the visitor center, it was time to head along to our final Pearl Harbour attraction - a visit to the USS Missouri battleship.
Beautiful visitor center grounds
Hawaii in relation to the world
Mighty Mo entrance
The USS Missouri is an Iowa-class battleship, built in 1942. It is the last of four existing Iowa-class battleships ever built, and the United States has not built any battleships since, making this the last battleship ever built by the U.S.

The Missouri played a role in winning the war against Japan in the pacific, and in September of 1945 it was the deck of the USS Missouri that hosted a delegation from Japan that signed the formal instrument of surrender to the Allied Powers. The Missouri then spent many decades in active service, before being retired as a museum ship here at Pearl Harbour. Given its history, it seems fitting to be spending its time from now on in the very spot that launched America's war with Japan.
USS Missouri
A shuttle bus ride took us from the visitor center to the dock on Ford Island where the Missouri is moored. The bus driver warned us very emphatically not to take any pictures during the ride from the visitor center to the battleship, owing to the fact that the route went through an active military base. To bolster the weight of his words, he told a story of a rule-breaker who was treated pretty harshly by the US Military. Whether this was true or not was hard to tell - but no one took any pictures during the drive to the battleship.
Recreating the famous kiss
Physically, the USS Missouri is not far away from the USS Arizona memorial, and the way the ship is positioned makes it seem like the main guns are standing guard over the wreck of the Arizona.
The Missouri's Bow
The USS Missouri -- also known by its nickname "Mighty Mo" -- appears clean and proud as you approach it. It has a long, graceful, slender form. Some fixed ramps and steps lead you up onto the main deck, where the first thing that impressed us were the main sixteen-inch guns. I mean, wow - they are impressively powerful-looking. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be anywhere near when these babies fire.
Main guns, USS Missouri
USN visitors, USS Missouri
Brian the machine gun operator
We spent a bit of time on the forward teak-covered main deck, admiring the lines and proportions of the ship, and more closely examining those awesome guns. We then walked around and down the starboard side of the ship, soon coming to a pretty historic spot - the place where the Japanese surrendered in September of 1945. A round plaque is set into the deck and an additional plaque is on the wall of the captain's cabin.
The spot where WWII ended
Instrument of Surrender Plaque
We continued rearward, soon reaching the wide open rear part of the main deck (including a small aircraft landing area - not sure how that worked before the advent of helicopters). It appears as if some semi-permanent tent structures on this deck are used to host ceremonial functions from time to time.

We then descended into the bowels of the ship via a short, steep stairwell in the main deck, leading down to the second deck. What then followed was a remarkably long walk through most of the length of the ship, starting with the Chief Petty Officers quarters and living spaces, through the main mess hall, galley and related food prep areas, offices for the master of arms, rows upon rows upon rows of crews' bunks, machine room, computer room, and post office, among many other things. Everything had a certain "air of recent history" about it - 70s-style dark wood furnishings, 50s-style stamped metal fittings and appliances, 80s-era computer gear (some original Macintoshes among them).
Sleeping Quarters
Petty Officers' Lounge
Main Galley
Between compartments
The "Spud" Locker
The Truman Line
USS Missouri Machine Room
Legal Office
Old-tech computer room
Dental Clinic, USS Missouri
Shipboard Post Office
Last day of service
After participating in the first Gulf War in 1991, the USS Missouri was decommissioned. We passed a bulletin board with a series of announcements, one of them a schedule of the final day of active duty for the ship: Saturday, December 7, 1991, at Pearl Harbour. An appropriate end of service location for the ship that was so prominently involved with the Japanese surrender in World War II.
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[ Return to "A Hawaiian Kaleidoscope" Home page | Introduction | Mildly complicated journey | Visit to Pearl Harbour | Downtown Honolulu | Kaua'i - The Garden Isle | Na Pali / Kalalau 1 | Na Pali / Kalalau 2 | Waimea Canyon & Kalepa Ridge | Maui - The Valley Isle | Exploring Kaupo | Haleakala Sea-to-summit 1 | Haleakala Sea-to-summit 2 | Haleakala Sea-to-summit 3 | Haleakala bike descent | Maui beach & snorkel | Flight to Big Island | Hawai'i Volcanoes NP | Mauna Loa Backpack Prep | Mauna Loa Climb | Mauna Loa Descent | Paniolo Greens | Hapuna Beach Park | Pu'ukohola Hieau | Sunset at Hapuna Beach | Ph'uhonua o Honaunau | Farewell to Hawaii | Supplemental: Kalalau Trail | Supplemental: Kalepa Ridge Trail | Supplemental: Kaupo Trail | Supplemental: Paliku to Haleakala Summit | Supplemental: Mauna Loa via Observatory Trail | Supplemental: USS Bowfin and Missouri | Hapuna Beach Sunset | Hawai'i Flora and Fauna | The Blue Pilot | Video Clip Index | GPS Data ]

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