Inouye says
Navy will homeport
Mighty Mo at
Pearl Harbor

Bremerton, Wash., still hopes
to get the battleship there

By Gregg K. Kakesako

The Navy stands by its decision to home-port the battleship USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor despite a critical federal report on the selection process.

Sen. Daniel Inouye yesterday said Navy Secretary John Dalton informed Washington Rep. Norm Dicks, who requested the site selection process be reopened to give the city of Bremerton, Wash., another chance, of his decision "to stand by the Navy's selection of Pearl Harbor as the appropriate final berthing place of the historic battleship USS Missouri."

Dicks cited a General Accounting Office report that criticized the way the Navy chose Hawaii. Hawaii's USS Missouri Memorial Association beat out Bremerton, San Francisco and Long Beach, Calif.

It hopes to tow the 52-year-old 58,000-ton vessel from Bremerton in May 1998.

The final action now rests with Congress, which has until mid-summer to reject Dalton's decision, which Hawaii's delegation views as unlikely.

Ed Carter, spokesman for the Hawaii Missouri Association, said: "We assumed from the very beginning that it was a go. The process was fair, the process was good and it was very exhaustive."

He said the association is working on an environmental impact statement addressing concerns dealing with the berthing of the Missouri in the waters of Pearl Harbor. "Our planning is right on schedule and we plan to bring the ship here next year," Carter said.

The Mighty Mo last saw action in the Persian Gulf war, pounding Iraq in anticipation of the ground offensive against Saddam Hussein's troops.

Since its decommissioning in 1992, it has been docked at Bremerton.

At Pearl Harbor, the Missouri will be moored temporarily on Ford Island at a pier that was built in 1990 for the battleship.

It will remain there until the bridge connecting the tiny island to the rest of Pearl Harbor is completed in 1998.

Visitors would be bused to the battleship.

The Missouri will then be moved to where the USS California was moored when it was attacked by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1942, and visitors will be shuttled by boat from the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center.

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