The Ship


Built in the midst of World War II in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, USS Missouri (BB 63) is the youngest of her other Iowa-class sisters, following USS Iowa (BB 61), USS New Jersey (BB 62), and USS Wisconsin (BB 64).* Like her sisters, she was designed to be a fast battleship: a warship that balanced firepower and armor without sacrificing speed. Missouri’s 887'3" (270.4m) length accommodated four large engines with 212,000 shaft horsepower, allowing the battleship to hit speeds in excess of 33 knots, a significant improvement from the 27 knots of the previous class of battleship, the South Dakota class, and faster than the 26-knot capability of Japanese ships of the time.

USS Missouri is also the third US Navy ship to be named after the Show Me state. The very first USS Missouri was a frigate built in the New York Navy Yard during the Age of Sail in 1841. This Missouri displaced 3,200 tons of water and was equipped with two 10-inch guns and eight 8-inch guns. Although she was powered by steam, should steam power fail her, the frigate was also equipped with three masts and 19,000 square feet of canvas. She was one of the first warships to cross the Atlantic Ocean on steam power alone. Unfortunately, soon after crossing the Atlantic Ocean, a fire broke out in Missouri's engine rooms and the ship was lost to Gibraltar's harbor floor in August 1843.

The second USS Missouri (BB 11) was built and launched in Newport News, Virginia on 28 December 1901. She was the second of the Maine-class battleships, displacing 13,500 tons of water when fully loaded and equipped with four 12-inch and sixteen 6-inch guns. In 1907, she circumnavigated the globe as part of the Great White Fleet, a 46,000 mile voyage of 16 US Atlantic Fleet battleships painted a peacetime white. She participated in World War I, joining the Atlantic Fleet as a training ship and operating out of Chesapeake Bay. She was decommissioned in 1919 and sold for scrap.

Today, a Virginia-class submarine, USS Missouri (SSN 780) is the fourth USS Missouri and carries the Missouri legacy into the future.

*Although Wisconsin has a higher hull number, she was completed and commissioned before Missouri.