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USS Missouri (BB-63) ("Mighty Mo" or "Big Mo") is a United States Navy Iowa-class battleship and was the third ship of the U.S. Navy to be named in honor of the US state of Missouri. Missouri was the last battleship built by the United States and was the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended World War II.
Missouri was ordered in 1940 and commissioned in June 1944. In the Pacific Theater of World War II she fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and shelled the Japanese home islands, and she fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. She was decommissioned in 1955 into the United States Navy reserve fleets (the "Mothball Fleet"), but reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, and provided fire support during Operation Desert Storm in January/February 1991.
Missouri was one of the Iowa-class "fast battleship" designs planned in 1938 by the Preliminary Design Branch at the Bureau of Construction and Repair. She was laid down at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on 6 January 1941, launched on 29 January 1944 and commissioned on 11 June with Captain William Callaghan in command. The ship was the third of the Iowa class, but the fourth and final Iowa-class ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy. The ship was christened at her launching by Mary Margaret Truman, daughter of Harry S. Truman, then a United States Senator from Missouri.
Missouri's main battery consisted of nine 16 in (406 mm)/50 cal Mark 7 guns, which could fire 2,700 lb (1,200 kg) armor-piercing shells some 20 mi (32.2 km). Her secondary battery consisted of twenty 5 in (127 mm)/38 cal guns in twin turrets, with a range of about 10 mi (16 km). With the advent of air power and the need to gain and maintain air superiority came a need to protect the growing fleet of allied aircraft carriers; to this end, Missouri was fitted with an array of Oerlikon 20 mm and Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft guns to defend allied carriers from enemy airstrikes. When reactivated in 1984 Missouri had her 20 mm and 40 mm AA guns removed, and was outfitted with Phalanx CIWS mounts for protection against enemy missiles and aircraft, and Armored Box Launchers and Quad Cell Launchers designed to fire Tomahawk missiles and Harpoon missiles, respectively.
Missouri was the last U.S. battleship to be completed. Wisconsin, the highest-numbered U.S. battleship built, was completed before Missouri; BB-65 to BB-71 were ordered but cancelled.
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