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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

V-Day and Mighty Mo

On May 8th, 1945, the United States and Great Britain as well as numerous formerly occupied cities in Western Europe were celebrating V-Day, for the Victory in Europe over the Nazi war machine.
In ten days the movie “Battleship” is set to premier in the United States which is said to feature the USS Missouri.  This is the ship that later that same year in September 1945 the Japanese would formally surrender aboard this very same ship.
As this author lives in Independence, Missouri, the home town of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, the USS Missouri is very well known.  BB-63, The Mighty Mo, or Big Mo, was the last of four Iowa class battleships built by the United States.  She was the third ship named in honor of the State of Missouri.  BB-11 was also a battleship and called the Missouri back in Teddy Roosevelt’s day.

The Mighty Mo was commissioned in June 1944 and fought in both the Battle of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, along with shelling the home islands of Japan.  Later she fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 before finally being decommissioned in 1955.  All together four of six Iowa Class Battleships were completed and during a training cruise in June 1954 the year before the Missouri was decommissioned the first time she sailed with her other three sister ships.  This was the only time all four of these battleships all sailed together, the Missouri, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and the Iowa.
Years later she was reactivated and modernized and commissioned again in 1984.  She saw service again providing fire support during Operation Desert Storm between January and February 1991.  Finally she was decommissioned again in March of 1992.  In 1998 she became a museum piece in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii with her bow facing the Arizona Memorial, to forever watch over the souls lost aboard her.

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