The USS Missouri, or “Big Mo”, was commissioned on June 11, 1944. One of the United States Navy’s most famous ships, she was designated as the flagship of the Pacific Fleet and took part, in February 1945, in the first aircraft raid of Japan since the Doolittle attack in 1942.
The Missouri then took part in the Iwo Jima campaign, where her main guns provided fire support to the invasion that started on February 19. After the Iwo Jima campaign ended, the Missouri took part in various raids on Japanese garrison islands and again on the home islands themselves. In April 1945, she joined the fleet supporting the invasion of Okinawa, where she served for three months.
On 11 April, a low-flying kamikaze Zero, although fired upon, crashed on Missouri’s starboard side, just below her main deck level. The starboard wing of the plane was thrown far forward, starting a gasoline fire at 5 in (127 mm) Gun Mount No. 3. The battleship suffered only superficial damage, and the fire was brought quickly under control.
For the remainder of the War, the Missouri took part in numerous raids on the Japanese home islands, joining the 3rd Fleet for strikes at the heart of Japan from within its home waters.
On 2 September, 1945, the Missouri’s deck served as the location of the Japanese surrender ceremony, ending the Second World War. She is now a museum ship in Pearl Harbor.
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