When three friends sat down for lunch in early 1994, no one could have predicted how their meeting would change the way Pearl Harbor is seen today. At the time, the Battleship Missouri had been recently removed from the Navy’s ship registry after being decommissioned for the final time on March 31, 1992. With the right setting and proper support system, the ship could be eligible for donation. Retired Honolulu executive Edwin Carter, retired Admiral Ron Hays, and retired Navy veteran Harold Estes, founders of the Battleship Missouri, agreed, “Why not Pearl Harbor?” In March 1994, the USS Missouri Memorial Association was officially registered as a non-profit organization, and its volunteer board of directors set out to make the case for Hawaii.
On May 4, 1998, the Navy made it official and entrusted the battleship’s care to the Association. Six weeks later, on June 21, 1998, Father’s Day, the Missouri received a hero’s welcome as it was towed into the waters fronting Honolulu’s shoreline. The Battleship Missouri Memorial opened on January 29, 1999, at Pier Foxtrot-5 on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor.
Today, visitors can walk her decks, stand on the spot where the formal surrender took place ending WWII, tour the wardroom and officers’ quarters, see how the crew lived, ate and slept and gain an understanding of how the Navy operated on the high seas.
Dedicated to preserving the Battleship Missouri and sharing her story and place in history, the USS Missouri Memorial Association also offers volunteer, military and educational programs to support these efforts.
Mighty Support for the Mighty Mo
When the Battleship Missouri was active duty in WWII, there were over 2,500 Sailors maintaining the ship. Today, the USS Missouri Memorial Association has less than 25 ship maintenance staff working on her decks. Volunteers are vital to restore and preserve her teak decks, metal decks, bulkheads, displays and equipment. Each month, we rely on approximately 36 Civilian individual volunteers, 16 military volunteer groups, and 8 Non-military volunteer groups to deliver roughly 1,800 hours of volunteer manpower.
Saluting Our Military
To honor the commitment of all the men and women past and present who served our great country, the USS Missouri Memorial Association is proud to host Military Ceremonial Programs including Retirements, Reenlistments, and Change of Commands among others for service members in all branches of the military. In 2015, the Battleship Missouri hosted over 1,000 military ceremonies.
Education for the Next Generation
Each year the USS Missouri Memorial Association welcomes students, teachers and parents from all around the world to explore the decks of the historic Mighty Mo and to learn about her story through our interactive education programs. In 2015, we hosted more than 12,000 education visitors through programs such as Mighty Mo Robotics, Journey with the Stars, Dental Health, Math Measurement and guided tours. Additionally, 660 students participated in our Worldwide Video Teleconference program, experiencing the ship and her role in World War II virtually.
Although she no longer reports for duty, her legacy continues. Get to know the Mighty Mo by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterestand Google+. We encourage you to be a part of her journey and join the conversation by sharing your best moment and stories about the historic Battleship Missouri on social media using the hashtag #MightyMOments.