STAR-BULLETIN / 2004
The Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor, decommissioned in 1995, was the site of the Japanese surrender to World War II in 1945, is preparing for a makeover in dry dock next year.
‘Mighty Mo’ to get makeover
As the historic battleship Missouri prepares for a makeover in dry dock, two new tour programs are being introduced and a U.S. House committee agreed last week to waive the ship's rent at Pearl Harbor.
Operators of the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the site of the 1945 Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay, are getting the ship ready for major work in the Pearl Harbor dry dock next year.
The nation's last battleship needs sandblasting, repainting and teak deck replacement. Cost for all the work is expected to be anywhere from around $10 million up to close to $30 million. Officials say the dry dock at Pearl Harbor will last from two to three months.
Until then, the Missouri will remain open to visitors at its Pearl Harbor mooring opposite the sunken USS Arizona.
The Missouri, often referred to as "The Mighty Mo," has been operated as a historic attraction since 1998.
The memorial is introducing two special guided tours for visitors next month, marking the memorial's 10th anniversary in Pearl Harbor.
A Weapons Tour will highlight weapons used aboard the Missouri during its five decades on active duty. They include its World War II-era anti-aircraft guns, Cold War-era Tomahawk cruise missile and Harpoon anti-ship missile systems, Operation Desert Storm-era anti-aircraft/missile Phalanx guns, 5-inch gun turrets and the 16-inch main gun turrets.
A Generations Tour will feature stories from the generations of service members who served aboard the ship, from World War II to Desert Storm.
Unlike the USS Arizona Memorial run by the National Park Service, the Missouri charges admission, plus extra for the guided tours.
Meanwhile, the House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act introduced by Rep. Neil Abercrombie that will forgive $414,000 in rent for the Missouri's mooring at Pearl Harbor.
The bill calls for a two-year suspension of rent.
"The nonprofit USS Missouri Memorial Association performs a great service to our country by maintaining a renowned symbol that would otherwise be lost to future generations," said Abercrombie, chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on air and land forces.
The Missouri receives about 400,000 visitors a year.
"The USS Missouri is a living symbol of our nation's heritage, proudly displaying 11 battle stars for service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf," Abercrombie said. "She's earned a little break on the rent."