battleship Missouri Mighty Mo Pearl Harbor

Battleship Missouri Memorial Photo: member Mark D.

The USS Battleship Missouri secured its place in history as the site of Japan’s unconditional surrender to the United States, thus bringing an end to World War II. The formal papers were signed on the deck of the battleship on Sept. 2, 1945. Today the Missouri shares a harbor with a sunken ship, the Arizona, and the memorial to all who lost their lives during the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The attack, sometimes referred to as the “Day of Infamy,” was the beginning of America’s involvement in World War II.

Now, all these years later, the war’s beginning and end are recorded at Pearl Harbor in the form of two battleships — one the submerged Arizona, the other the proud USS Missouri.

First launched on Jan. 29, 1944, the battleship, nicknamed the “Mighty Mo,” saw service in three wars spanning over five decades. The Missouri’s final operational mission occurred on Dec. 7, 1991, when she sailed into Pearl Harbor and took part in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Battleship Missouri Memorial

battleship Missouri Mighty Mo Pearl Harbor

Battleship Missouri a.k.a. the “Mighty Mo,” site of the Japanese surrender of WW II. Photo: member Eugene.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial opened Jan. 29, 1999, at Pier-5 on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. Much of the ship has been refurbished by a workforce of approximately 5,000 volunteers who put in an estimated 25,000 hours worth of work. An Iowa class battleship, built for speed and firepower, Mighty Mo’s trademark feature is its 16-inch guns — each 65 feet long and weighing 116 tons. The ship is constructed of solid steel armor plating.

Visitors are able to walk the decks, tour the wardroom and quarters, and find out how the sailors lived. On the final stop of the tour, the famed Surrender Deck, it’s possible to sense the significance of the place where World War II officially ended. Be aware that security regulations prohibit all backpacks, fanny packs, purses, diaper bags, shopping bags, large camera bags, video cameras and luggage from the battleship.

The Missouri is open daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Tickets are purchased at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center (open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) for $29 adults and $13 children (4-12 years old).

You can purchase a Pearl Harbor package for not much more that gives admission to the Arizona Memorial, Missouri, Bowfin submarine and Pacific Aviation Museum — an amazing and intriguing day of U.S. history. There are also a number of guided tours available. If you’re planning a trip to Pearl Harbor, we recommend visiting our Pearl Harbor section where we provide tips and information for visiting.