Press Releases

Battleship Missouri Memorial Employees Les Lancaster and Neil Yamamoto Honored by Historic Naval Ships Association



Pearl Harbor, HI – (October 13, 2022) – The Battleship Missouri Memorial today announced two of its employees were recently honored with awards from the Historical Naval Ships Association (HNSA). Les Lancaster received the Casper J. Knight, Jr. Award, while Neil Yamamoto received the HNSA Educator Award. The awards were given as part of the annual HNSA Conference held this year in Hawaii and hosted by the Battleship Missouri Memorial.

The HNSA’s Casper J. Knight, Jr. Award is the association’s highest award given to individuals or organizations who have “contributed in a major way, usually over a considerable length of time, to the preservation and exhibition of historic naval ships, and to the goals and work of the Association.” This year’s recipient was Les Lancaster, who has been with the USS Missouri Memorial Association Inc. for 24 years, serving as Chief Engineer and Director of Shipboard Operations. He currently manages a crew of 28 and oversees all the restoration, preservation, facility, and engineering jobs on site. Prior to joining the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Lancaster proudly served in the U.S. Navy as a Bosun Mate for 24 years, retiring at the rank of a Command Master Chief.

The HNSA Educator Award, given to Neil Yamamoto, honors a Fleet Member who has “performed at a superior level in furthering the education program of the organization.” Yamamoto has been with the USS Missouri Memorial Association Inc. for 15 years and serves as Education Outreach Coordinator. In his role, Yamamoto is responsible for a variety of educational outreach initiatives and oversees the virtual teleconference program, in-school presentations, and serves as a liaison between the USS Missouri Memorial Association’s Education Department and various community partners. Additionally, Yamamoto, an Eagle Scout, also oversees the Association’s American Heritage Merit Badge program.

“Les and Neil’s ongoing work and dedication to ensure the physical preservation and remarkable history of the USS Missouri is unparalleled,” said Michael Carr, President and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association Inc., caretaker of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. “These prestigious awards from the Historic Naval Ships Association are a testament to their passion and commitment to the Mighty Mo and is well deserved. We are lucky to have them onboard and congratulate both on their accomplishments.”

Please credit photos to the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
Link to photos:
Caption: Neil Yamamoto receives the HNSA Educator Award, and Les Lancaster receives the Casper J. Knight, Jr. Award. (Pictured left to right: RADM Peter Gumataotao, USN (ret.), Vice Chairman and Secretary, USS Missouri Memorial Association Inc.; Neil Yamamoto Community Outreach Coordinator; Mike Carr, President & CEO, USS Missouri Memorial Association; Les Lancaster, Chief Engineer and Director of Shipboard Operations.)


Caption: Neil Yamamoto honored with the HNSA Educator Award


Caption: Les Lancaster awarded the Casper J. Knight, Jr. Award


About the Battleship Missouri Memorial
Since opening in January 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial has attracted more than 9-million visitors from around the world with a fascinating tour experience showcasing the USS Missouri’s unique place in history. Located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Mighty Mo completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” and sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and ends with Japan’s formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

The USS Missouri had an astounding career over five decades and three wars – World War II, the Korean War, and Desert Storm – after which it was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Association operates the Battleship Missouri Memorial as a historic attraction and oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants, and donations.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Military, kama‘āina (local resident) and school group pricing is available. For information or reservations, call (808) 455-1600 or visit

For information or reservations, call (toll-free) 1-877-644-4896 or visit

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Media Contact:
Shere’e Quitevis
(808) 741-1668

Jaclyn Hawse
(808) 455-1600 ext. 246