The USS Battleship Missouri, located in Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, secured its place in history as the site of Japan’s unconditional surrender to the United States in World War II.
The formal papers were officially signed on the deck of the battleship on Sept. 2, 1945, thus bringing an end to the war.
Today, the Missouri shares Pearl Harbor with the USS Arizona, whose iconic memorial honors all who lost their lives during the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The attack on Pearl Harbor marked the beginning of America’s involvement in World War II, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued his call to arms the day after the bombardment.
Now, all these years later, the war’s beginning and end are forever marked at Pearl Harbor in the form of two battleships: the submerged USS Arizona and the “Mighty Mo,” as the USS Missouri is known.
First launched on Jan. 29, 1944, the Battleship Missouri had an impressive run, enjoying service in three wars spanning five decades.
The Mighty Mo’s final operational mission took place on Dec. 7, 1991, when the battleship sailed into Pearl Harbor one final time and took part in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
The Battleship Missouri Memorial officially opened on Jan. 29, 1999 at Pier-5 on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.
Much of the battleship has been refurbished by a workforce of approximately 5,000 volunteers — an incredible undertaking that required an estimated 25,000 hours of work.
An Iowa class battleship built for speed and firepower, the Mighty Mo’s trademark feature is its 16-inch guns — each measuring 65 feet long and weighing 116 tons.
The battleship itself is constructed of solid steel armor plating.
Visitors to the memorial are able to walk the ship’s decks, tour the wardroom (the mess cabin or compartment on a warship) and quarters, all of which offers an incredible, up-close window into how the sailors lived onboard.
On the final stop of the tour, the famed Surrender Deck, visitors will surely sense the weighty significance of this place where World War II officially ended.
Planning Your Battleship Missouri Visit
When planning your visit, be aware that security regulations do not allow for backpacks, fanny packs, purses, diaper bags, shopping bags, large camera bags, video cameras, or luggage to come aboard the battleship.
Cameras, cell phones and wallets are allowed.
Bags can be stored securely at the storage facility near the visitor center entrance for a small fee ($7 for standard bags, $10 for oversized, as of June 2023).
Getting To The Battleship Missouri
The USS Missouri is located at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, at 63 Cowpens St., and operates daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The historic site is closed only on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Ford Island is a secure military base, so unless you have base access, you will need to take a free shuttle to get there. Park in the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center lot (parking fees apply), and the courtesy shuttles depart every 15-20 minutes beginning at 8 a.m.
Battleship Missouri Tickets And Tours
Tickets are available for purchase at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center onsite, or online.
You can also purchase a variety of other options, including a Pearl Harbor package that includes a Visitor Center Audio Tour, as well as admission to Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
There are also a number of guided tours available.