The historic and celebrated USS Missouri is one of the last surviving US battleships. Not present at the attack on Pearl Harbor, she arrived shortly thereafter, in December 1944, and saw battle across the Pacific and around the world. Today you can tour the Mighty Mo, as I did. It's docked on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, on Battleship Row. The USS Arizona and its memorial rest nearby.
If you can't make it to Hawaii, you can take a tour of this incredible ship here, in these pictures.
Also check out the article about the tour.
Though dwarfed by much newer aircraft carriers, the size of the Missouri is no less impressive.
The nine 16-inch, 50-caliber guns each weigh as much as the Space Shuttle. Two weigh as much as a 747 aircraft. They were the largest guns fitted on a US battleship. Within 90 seconds, 27 rounds (shown in the next slide) can hit a target up to 23 miles away. Because of their design, the ship doesn't rock while firing. Wrap your head around that.
Each armor-piercing shell weighs as much as a small car (2,700 pounds).
Had to twist to get a decent angle here. We're looking down past the breech of the barrel of one of the guns. I imagine while firing this space would be loud.
It reads: "Over this spot on 2 September 1945 the Instrument of Formal Surrender of Japan to the Allied Powers was signed thus bringing to a close the Second World War - The ship at that time was at anchor in Tokyo Bay. Latitude 35° 21' 17" North. Longitude 139° 45' 36" East."
The Captain's Quarters aren't accessible on any tour. You can, however, book the room for a special event. How cool is that? I'm guessing the projector is not original equipment. (I believe it was an Optoma.)
Off the main room is the Captain's spacious bedroom -- spacious for a battleship, anyway.
The Captain got his own kitchen (and staff). This mediocre photo was taken through a tiny pass-through door, which is as close as I got.
The rear deck (to the left in this photo) in WWII was used for launching and recovering (with a crane) seaplanes. Now it's open and can hold special events. There was a tent set up when I was there.
Simple chairs, small tables, not much to look at, but 5,000 meals a day were eaten here.
Line up and get your grub. Adorably, the Missouri hosts a program for local school kids where they can spend a night on the ship and eat meals cooked in the main galley (which is through the pass-throughs on the left).
The main tour gets you to the main deck and up. If you want to go into the bowels of the ship, you need to go on the guided Heart of the Missouri tour. Down below you get to see the inner workings, like these heavy-duty ducts that carry, um, things ducts that carry -- like steam, maybe?
Dials, wheels, and levers to monitor the massive propulsion equipment that moves the ship. How awesome is this thing?
The awesome steampunk console is around the corner on the right from this picture.
The main thoroughfare of the Missouri: Broadway. It runs nearly the entire length of the ship.
Manual toggles for electrical systems from all over the ship.
Ever wonder what it takes to fire one of those massive main guns? Well, a brass-handle with a simple trigger. That's it.
Imagine trying to get down that in a hurry.
Yet another stop on the Heart of the Missouri tour: one of the massive boilers that supplied steam (and by extension water and power) to the ship.
There's artwork all over the ship, originally done by the crew. This one, in the boiler room pictured in the last slide, is where they came up with the name for the special tour.
Something about the quiet, heavy equipment and moody lighting made this room really cool.
To get this shot, I used a really wide angle, but that belies the narrowness of these bunks. I wouldn't have been able to walk straight down this passage; I'd have to walk at an angle. Under each bed is a small storage space.
Like any city, floating or otherwise, there are lots of offices. Dentists, lawyers, payroll, and more all have their own spaces. As often as they can, the Missouri museum had the occupants of these offices supply items from when they were there. Not sure if that includes the Compaq desktop you see here...
You've got mail.
So that big, curved wall on the right? On the other side of that is one of the gun turrets. Can you imagine having your bunk next to that?
This is what the bunks would have looked like during WWII.
Generally the radio room is off limits (not to us!). But a few times a year during special events, they fire up the shortwave and talk to other retired vessels.
The Mighty Mo was decommissioned in 1992, so this is some excellent old-school computer gear.
The Officer's mess. The tables could double as surgical tables during an emergency.
While not as big as the Captain's Quarters, the XO (executive officer) did pretty well.
Big bed, and a window. Not bad. He got his own private bathroom too (to the left, out of frame).
Clearly being an officer is where it's at, though sometimes not even then. This cabin had a window, but some of the others didn't.
The Combat Engagement Center. Tracking everything in the area, good or bad, and control of weapons both defense and offensive. I love the sign.
No, seriously, don't push, turn, or toggle anything in here.
This is the hatch to the armored section of the Navigation Bridge (see next slide).
Not much of a view. To get this shot the camera is pressed against the back wall. Even with an extreme wide angle, I couldn't get much. This room is tiny.
This isn't a great shot, but I wanted to show how cramped this room is. Some degree of safety comes at quite a price.
The cramped room from the previous slides is behind me for this shot. Much better view from out here.
In case the Captain needed a quick nap but didn't want to be as far away as his main cabin (four decks below).
Quite a sight: the Arizona memorial, and Honolulu beyond.
While in port, most warships face out to the sea, ready to fight. The Missouri instead faces toward the Arizona and her other fallen sisters, lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor. In over 50 years of service, through multiple wars, the Missouri never lost a hand in battle.
Return to the article about the tour here.