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From the Archives: The battleship Missouri returns to Long Beach

Jan. 19, 1988: The battleship USS MIssouri returns to Long Beach harbor after duty in the Persian Gu
Jan. 19, 1988: The battleship MIssouri returns to Long Beach harbor after duty in the Persian Gulf.
(Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times)

The battleship Missouri, commissioned in 1944, participated in the World War II battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The Japanese signed terms of surrender on the ship’s deck on Sept. 2, 1945, ending World War II.

During the Korean War, the Missouri shelled North Korean positions from 1950 to 1953.

In 1955, the Missouri was decommissioned, only to be retrofitted and recommissioned in 1986. After rejoining the fleet, the Missouri was based in Long Beach.

In January 1988, following a six-month deployment, the Missouri returned to Long Beach. Joe Kennedy’a aerial image above accompanied a short story that reported:

Hundreds of banner-carrying well-wishers greeted the battleship Missouri on Tuesday as it returned to its home port in Long Beach under blue skies after a six-month cruise in the northern Arabian Sea.

As the 887-foot, 58,000-ton ship steamed into the harbor, hundreds of family members gathered at Pier 6 broke out in cheers, waving signs with such salutations as "Welcome Home, Daddy."

In fact, 31 of the 66 officers and 1,538 enlisted men on board had become new fathers during the tour of duty. The men, whose wives and babies had been waiting at the pier for several hours, were scheduled to depart the ship first.

The Navy Band from San Diego and the Bellflower High School Band provided a musical homecoming for the "Mighty Mo." It was on the deck of the Missouri that the Japanese surrender was signed, bringing an official end to World War II.

The Missouri and six other ships forming a carrier battle group were sent to the Arabian Sea in July as part of a U.S. policy to bring stability to the Gulf of Oman, where a war between Iraq and Iran has affected Middle East oil shipping lanes. …

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the Missouri launched 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles and fired 783 rounds of 16-inch shells.

In 1992, the Missouri was again decommissioned. In 1998, the ship was moved to Pearl Harbor and opened as a museum.

Below I’ve added additional images of the Missouri from the Los Angeles Times archives.

1944: The battlship USS Missouri fires a salvo from the two forward turrets. The 16-inch projectiles
1944: The battleship Missouri fires a salvo from the two forward turrets. The 16-inch projectiles can be seen at upper right. This photo appeared in the Nov. 14, 1944, Los Angeles Times. Associated Press
Sep. 2, 1945: Gen. Douglas MacArthur, seated, signs the Japanese surrender document aboard the USS M
Sep. 2, 1945: Gen. Douglas MacArthur signs the Japanese surrender document aboard the Missouri in Tokyo Bay. This photo appeared in the Sep. 2, 1945, Los Angeles Times. Associated Press
April 12, 1951: Ceremoney on the USS Missouri in Long Beach, CA. following the ship’s return from
April 12, 1951: Ceremony aboard the Missouri in Long Beach following the ship's return from deployment to Korea. Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times
April 12, 1951: View from the USS Missouri as the battleship returns to Terminal Island after deploy
April 12, 1951: View from the Missouri as the battleship returns to Terminal Island after deployment in the Korean War. Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times
April 12, 1951: Ceremonies on the USS Mirrouri in Long Beach following deployment to Korean War. Thi
April 12, 1951: Ceremonies on the Missouri in Long Beach following deployment to Korean War. Beneath the 16-inch guns of the battleship, Mayor Burton Chace of Long Beach welcomes Vice Adm. Arthur D. Struble, former commander of the 7th Fleet. Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times
May 25, 1984: The battleship USS Missouri arrves in Long Beach from Bremerton, Washl, for a $425-mil
May 25, 1984: The battleship Missouri arrves in Long Beach from Bremerton, Wash., for a $425-million face-lift. This photo appeared in the May 26, 1984, Los Angeles Times. Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times
July 2, 1987: Gunners mate Bill Allen does maintenance on 16 inch shells, deep inside the USS Missou
July 2, 1987: Gunner's mate Bill Allen does maintenance on 16-inch shells, deep inside the Missouri. Many of the shells weigh over 2,000 pounds. This photo appeared in the July 6, 1987, Los Angeles Times. Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times
Nov. 15, 1989: The battleship USS Missouri docked at the Long Beach Naval Station.
Nov. 15, 1989: The battleship Missouri docked at the Long Beach Naval Station. Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times
Nov. 13, 1990: The crew of the USS Missouri line the battleship railing as the ship leave the Long B
Nov. 13, 1990: The crew of the Missouri lines the battleship railing as the ship leaves Long Beach Naval Station for deployment to the Persian Guil. This photo appeared in the Nov. 14, 1990, Los Angeles Times. Larry Davis / Los Angeles Times
A FLOATING MEMORIAL TO WWII
June 22, 1998: The battleship Missouri, "Mighty Mo," ties up to its new pier at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After a journey across the Pacific Ocean, the Mighty Mo joins the Arizona Memorial as symbols of the beginning and the end of World War II. Kerry Baker / U.S. Navy

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here


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