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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting to Know Hawaii: Battleship Missouri Memorial

The Need to Knows:
  • The Battleship Missouri Memorial is located on Ford Island on Oahu; if you are military/DoD and have the appropriate identification, you may drive on to Ford Island and park in the designated areas at the memorial itself.  Otherwise, there is a shuttle that periodically leaves from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to Ford Island to allow access to the Missouri and the Pacific Aviation Museum for $3 (unfortunately visitation to the USS Utah is restricted to those with military identification).  Here is the location of the ship itself on Google Maps:

View Larger Map
  • The Mighty Mo is open from 8AM to 5PM June through August and 8PM to 4PM September through May, and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
  •  Adult admission (with choice of optional tour) is $22/person; Child admission (also with choice of optional tour) is $11.  Military/kama'aina rates are available.
  • If you are planning on seeing the USS Bowfin, the USS Arizona Memorial, and the Pacific Aviation Museum as well as the Mighty Mo, it may best suit you to purchase either the One Day Passport to Pearl Harbor tour or the Two Day Passport to Pearl Harbor tour (more information can be found here).
  • There are four different tours for the Mighty Mo; more information on each tour can be found here.  (We picked the iPod Touch tour, but weren't thrilled with it -- I'll explain below.)
  • I don't think it's a requirement, but I would opt for closed toe shoes to explore the battleship.  There are lots of places that could leave you with stubbed toes, so be careful and watch your step!

The Battleship Missouri is perhaps the most triumphant part of the "Pearl Harbor" experience.  It was, after all, on the decks of the Mighty Mo where the treaty was signed that officially ended the last great war this world has seen.

The exact spot where Japan signed the treaty that ended WWII.
With that in mind, it is certainly no coincidence that the USS Missouri now floats mere feet away from the underwater burial grounds of some of those killed in the attacks that pulled America into World War II.

The USS Missouri is an Iowa-class battleship, ordered in 1940 and commissioned in 1944.  She fought in WWII (Iwo Jima and Okinawa were among the battles she fought) and the Korean War before she was decommissioned in 1955; however, in the 1980s, she was reactivated, modernized, and called to duty during Desert Storm.  She didn't actually make it to Hawaii until she was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association as a museum ship in 1998.

On this particular day, my friends and I visited the USS Arizona Memorial first, and then headed over to Ford Island to check out just how "mighty" the Missouri really is.  When we arrived at the ship we were able to choose what kind of tour we'd like to do (from what I can understand, a tour of your choice is included with your ticket price), so we opted to try out the iPod Touch tour.  To be honest we weren't really impressed.  It was difficult to pay attention to both the iPod and our surroundings, so for 99% of the time we didn't use them at all.  Plus in order to use them, you have to leave one picture ID at the booth with an employee.  It felt odd to me at first when the employee asked for it, but I can understand the logic behind it.

Otherwise, the Mighty Mo was a great experience.  We got to explore out on the decks as well as inside the ship, and we were able to go at our own leisure.  They also had guided tours available with a volunteer at no extra charge, from what I was able to understand, which also would have been a great option (given that the volunteer is knowledgeable, of course).  It was fun for me to see how excited my friends were to discover the inner workings of a battleship.  Plus the views from the ship were pretty amazing, and we even got to see a destroyer pull into Pearl Harbor, which is always fun to watch.

View of Diamond Head from the Missouri.

The Mighty Mo actually was not my first battleship experience.  Growing up in Mobile, Alabama provided me with many, many opportunities to become intimately acquainted with another ship, the USS Alabama, a South Dakota-class battleship.  Mr. L even had his first reenlistment ceremony on board the Alabama.

So personally, while visiting this ship was just as awe-inspiring (perhaps more, with all of that gorgeous scenery surrounding us!) as any trip to see the Alabama, it did feel like an incredibly similar experience to the ones I've had many times back home.  In that regard, I probably wasn't as impressed as I could have been.  But it didn't detract from my enjoyment at all -- I had a great time touring this beautiful ship.  And it wasn't exactly the same anyways; imagine my surprise to see computers and TVs on board when I'm used to seeing a ship that was converted to a museum in 1964!

If you do decide to check out the Missouri, be sure to take a few moments to view the USS Oklahoma Memorial that honors those that perished aboard the USS Oklahoma, located right outside the entrance to the Missouri...

And don't forget to enjoy yourself aboard the Mighty Mo!


  1. Clearly this has nothing to do with your post, but you need to teach me how to make mine this cute. I don't know how to do it :(

    1. The Cutest Blog on the Block has adorable templates! I based my header and social media icons off of the one I got from there. =)



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