The USS Missouri "Mighty Mo" was a WWII ship only in use for a little under a year when it became the site of Japan's surrender.
But what was the reason behind this peculiar location?
The USS Missouri "Mighty Mo"
The USS Missouri "Mighty Mo" was the final battleship commissioned into the Navy. Like the other ships that came before her, she had been 16"/50 guns in three triple turrets and could move her 45,000 tons at 30 knots.
She joined the other ships in the fleet in the Pacific in June 1944. Since the Missouri was a fast battleship, she was a part of Task Force 58.
The task force was at the center of the U.S. Navy's strength toward the end of WWII. The ship was a part of multiple missions, including operations in Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Japan.
When she wasn't participating in missions, she acted as protection for U.S. carriers. In May 1945, the task force moved from 58 to Task Force 38. After the transition, the Missouri was Admiral Bull Halsey's 3rd Fleet flagship.
A Controversial Choice
She was at the head of the armada heading into Tokyo Bay months later, on August 29. There were many prominent ships at the surrender, including the USS South Dakota, the USS West Virginia, HMS Duke of York, and the HMS Prince of Wales.
Since she was the 3rd fleet's flagship, it made sense for her to be the location. However, many people think it is because President Harry S. Truman's daughter had christened the ship, which was the state the president was from.
But, despite its speed, it was a less distinguished ship compared to the others present, making it a controversial choice. The USS Missouri was active up until the Gulf War. After, she was retired and sent to Pearl Harbor as a war memorial.
More About the USS Missouri "Mighty Mo"
USS Missouri "Mighty Mo" Engagements
The USS Missouri, known as "Mighty Mo," played a crucial role in numerous engagements during World War II and beyond. Launched in 1944, this Iowa-class battleship quickly established itself as a formidable force in the Pacific Theater. Its participation in key battles demonstrated not only the might of the U.S. Navy but also the strategic importance of battleships in mid-20th-century warfare.
Battle of Iwo Jima (February-March 1945)
The USS Missouri's role in the Battle of Iwo Jima was a defining moment in its service. As part of the massive U.S. naval force, "Mighty Mo" provided crucial gunfire support to American ground forces. The bombardment from its main guns helped in softening enemy defenses, which was vital for the successful capture of the island, a strategic location for airfields close to the Japanese mainland.
Battle of Okinawa (April-June 1945)
Following the Iwo Jima engagement, the USS Missouri was pivotal in the Battle of Okinawa. This battle, one of the bloodiest of the Pacific War, saw "Mighty Mo" in action again, providing naval gunfire support. The battleship's firepower played a significant role in weakening Japanese defenses, contributing to the eventual Allied victory. The successful capture of Okinawa provided a critical staging area for the planned invasion of Japan.
Bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands (July-August 1945)
As the war in the Pacific reached its climax, the USS Missouri was involved in the bombardment of the Japanese home islands. This operation aimed to weaken Japan's ability to continue the war. The Missouri's participation in bombarding industrial and military targets in Japan demonstrated the reach and power of the U.S. Navy and hastened the end of the conflict.
Post-War Engagements and Korean War (1950-1953)
After World War II, USS Missouri remained active in the U.S. Navy's operations. During the Korean War, it was recommissioned to provide naval gunfire support. "Mighty Mo" bombarded enemy positions in North Korea, showcasing its enduring tactical value and versatility in different warfare contexts.
Operation Desert Storm (1991)
Although not a direct combatant, the USS Missouri's presence in Operation Desert Storm symbolized the enduring legacy of American naval power. Its deployment to the Persian Gulf region served as a deterrent and showcased the U.S. Navy's global reach and commitment to international peace and stability.
The USS Missouri's engagements across different conflicts highlight the evolution of naval warfare and the ship's adaptability to changing military needs. From its significant role in World War II to its presence in the Persian Gulf, "Mighty Mo" stands as a symbol of American military strength and resilience.