The Construction Of The Massive Battleship “Mighty Mo” in 25 Stunning Pictures

BB-63, the USS Missouri “Mighty Mo” is an Iowa-class United States Navy Battleship, the third that was named in honor of the US state of Missouri. She was also the last battleship ever to be commissioned by the United States. Most notable in her history, on the Missouri the Japanese Empire formally surrendered ending World War II.

The Missouri was ordered in 1940 and commissioned in June 1944. She fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and even shelled the Japanese home islands. She also saw combat after the second world war when she was called upon to fight in the Korean War.

In 1955 she was decommissioned and “Mothballed” into the United States Navy reserve fleet for almost 30 years. In 1984 she was reactivated and modernized as part of the 600-ship Navy plan after which she saw combat again during Operation Desert Storm in January/February 1991.

She was awarded a total of 11 battle stars for service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf and on 31 March 1992, she was again decommissioned, this time for good. She was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association in 1998 and became a museum ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where she looks over the wreck of the USS Arizona.

Fun facts:
The USS Wisconsin (BB-64) has a higher number, but she was completed before Missouri.

The music video for Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” was filmed aboard the USS Missouri and it features the ship’s crew.

The Missouri was also central to the plot of the film Under Siege, and the ship also features in the movie “Battleship.”

The Missouri (BB-63) as seen on 3 October 1941. She had been laid down on 6 January and her bottom plating is nearly finished. Most of the workers in the center of the ship are standing on the middle layer of the triple bottom. The keelson projects aft toward the water and on each side of the keelson can be seen the supports for the two inboard propeller shafts.
The Missouri (BB-63) is shown in mid-1942 with the engines and boilers in place and the torpedo defense system taking shape amidships. Segments of the lower main armor belt are visible. The keyway for fitting the upper belt and the adjacent plates of the lower belt can be seen. Also visible is the welded scalloped butt straps vertically joining the lower belt plates.

The Missouri (BB-63) is seen in mid-1943 at the New York Navy Yard. The side tanks of the torpedo defense system are visible along with the lower armor belt, with its 19-degree inclination. This belt also serves as Torpedo Bulkhead No. 4. The structure in the left foreground is the bow assembly, being constructed and readied for installation when the hull assembly reaches that point.
The Missouri (BB-63) is shown in November 1943, only two months before launching. The hull is complete up to the main deck and much of the superstructure is in frame. Amid the maze of scaffolding, air hoses, and welding leads, splinter protection for the lightweight anti-aircraft battery (quad 40mm) is being installed and the teak deck is being laid.
After end, outside cradle, 27 January 1944.
Looking forward from the Missouri’s (BB-63) propellerless stern, 27 January 1944.
Bow clamp gear arrangement on main deck starboard, 28 January 1944.
View aft, 28 January 1944.
MK 37 gun director being loaded aboard the Missouri (BB-63).
Bow clamp gear arrangement on main deck port, 28 January 1944.

Early in the day of Missouri’s (BB-63) launch at the New York Navy Yard on 29 January 1944.
Things are looking up before Missouri’s (BB-63) launching.
Approaching the end of the building ways as she is launched, 29 January 1944, at the New York Navy Yard.
Entering the water for the first time, during her launching at the New York Navy Yard, 29 January 1944. Note anchors and launching drag chains.

July – December 1944

Stern view looking forward from dry dock caisson
Port side of upper bow looking inboard from side of dry dock

Looking forward from bottom of dry dock at stern
Starboard side looking forward from bottom of dry dock
Bow view looking aft from inboard end of dry dock

Main deck looking forward from anchor windlass control station
Main deck looking aft from 20mm platform on stem head
USS Missouri & USS Alaska at Norfolk, Virginia 1944

Looking forward from top of conning and fire control tower and into open bridge
Starboard side looking aft from bottom of dry dock