Thursday, April 20, 2017

Labor of Love

Caring for the long-term future of America’s last battleship as its foremost priority, the USS Missouri Memorial Association has initiated many preservation efforts since the organization was entrusted with her care in 1998.

Now 25 years out of service, we can assure you that preserving this historic battleship for future generations has been an ‘all hands on deck’ effort.  Here are a few of our most memorable preservation projects.

Dry Dock
Back in 2009, a three-month, $18 million preservation effort began with an approximate two-mile journey from Pier Foxtrot 5 to dry dock in the Pearl Harbor shipyard at 6:50 a.m. The process took more than 11 hours from casting off the pier to entering Dry dock 4 and required a full evacuation of water from the facility. By sunset, the battleship's formidable hull was visible outside of the water for the first time since 1992, when she was last dry docked just after her second and final decommissioning.

BAE Systems Ship Repair workers performed maintenance and preservation work on the battleship with approximately more than 200 workers a day.

The ship’s next dry dock is currently anticipated for 2030.



World Map Mural
Time and the elements took its toll on the World Map Mural in the Wardroom of the USS Missouri. Determined to restore the mural to its former glory, the USS Missouri Memorial Association and Pace Art Conservation, LLC began a process that took 276.5 man hours to complete.

The mural was originally painted in 1945, during the voyage back to the United States after the Japanese surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri ending World War II.  The map was extended in the post-1945 restorations to incorporate the Missouri’s subsequent voyages, which necessitated the expansion of the map to include the entire circumference of the earth.

Newly restored, it can still be seen in the Wardroom for our guests to study for many years to come.



Superstructure
Our biggest project of 2017 is the Superstructure Preservation Project. This grandeur project three years in the planning is scheduled for completion this September following 32 weeks of repair and preservation work. With a price tag of $3 million, the repair and preservation of the superstructure is the largest and most expensive project undertaken by the Association since the battleship was placed into dry dock more than seven years ago.

An estimated 17,000 pounds of steel is being replaced as well as sandblasting nearly 27,000 square feet of steel due to corrosion. The superstructure will be completely repainted with protective coatings and the addition of a rainwater drainage system will support the long-term preservation efforts.

In addition to the repair and preservation work, the Association is installing replicas of two SLQ-32 electronic warfare antennas, as well as a radome involved in the operation of remotely piloted aircraft back onto the superstructure. With the installation of these prominent items, the Association will take a major step to meeting its historical preservation goal of restoring the USS Missouri to its overall appearance on December 7, 1991.


 In Memory
Restoration of the ship to its at service state simply would not be possible without the generous help and support of her former crew.  We want to acknowledge Herb Fahr, Jr.  who served aboard Missouri from 1954 to 1955 as an Engine Man (Diesel), Petty Officer 2nd class (END2), with the Engineering Department’s A Division working out of Aft Diesel. Herb was among Missouri’s first decommissioning crew.

With the USS Missouri (BB63) Association of former crewmembers, Herb served variously as Newsletter Editor, Corresponding Secretary, Membership Chairman, Vice-President and Reunion Chairman and President from 1997 to 2000. In those roles, Herb became a vital link between former crew and the USS Missouri Memorial Association, continuously assisting with restoration projects, putting our restoration teams in touch with former crew who could advise about function and appearance of individual compartments being restored, making possible their authentic, accurate restoration and presentation.

Herb’s contribution, as well as those of all former crew who have, and continue to share their memories and knowledge of Battleship Missouri, have been the critical factor in our accurate restoration of Battleship Missouri.

Herb Fahr, Jr. passed away in 2015. We will always remember.
All hands on deck as they say- it is the Labor of Love for the USS Missouri that she still stands proud and strong in the waters of Pearl Harbor even after 73 years after her initial commissioning.

“Preservation work that has to be done to ensure the USS Missouri is being properly maintained so that future generations can better appreciate its impact on world history,” said Michael A. Carr, President and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association.

The Association, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, has funded most projects entirely on its own, mainly through ticket sales from guests touring the battleship and donations.