USS Missouri (BB-63), 1944-1998
USS Missouri, a 45,000 ton Iowa class battleship built by the New York Navy Yard, was commissioned on 11 June 1944. She spent the remainder of that year preparing for combat, transiting to the Pacific in November. Arriving in the war zone in January 1945, Missouri supported the Iwo Jima invasion, the Ryukyus campaign and raids on Japan's home islands during the following months. In May, she became Third Fleet flagship and was the site of the 2 September 1945 Japanese surrender ceremony that ended World War II.
Following the end of hostilities, Missouri returned to the United States, participating in a great naval review at New York in October 1945. In March 1946, she went to the Mediterranean on a diplomatic mission. Through the rest of the 1940s and into 1950, the battleship operated extensively in the Atlantic area. She was the centerpiece of a major grounding incident off Hampton Roads, Virginia, in January 1950 but was quickly repaired and returned to service.
Missouri was the only U.S. battleship on active duty in June 1950, when the Korean War began, and made two combat deployments to the Western Pacific. Following that action, and several training cruises to Europe, she decommissioned in February 1955. For the next three decades, she was in reserve at Bremerton, Washington, and became an important tourist attraction.
All four Iowa class battleships were reactivated in the 1980s, with Missouri recommissioning in May 1986. Her next six years were busy ones, including, among other activities, a cruise around the World and a combat role in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. She decommissioned for the last time in March 1992. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1995, Missouri was transferred to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in June 1998 to become a memorial.