USS Missouri is moored south of the USS Arizona memorial, and faces the Arizona in tribute to her sacrifice. The two ships represent the endpoints of WW II in the Pacific -- Arizona its starting point and Missouri its ending point. Both ships are accessible via shuttle bus from the parking areas to Ford Island since public vehicle access to Ford has been restricted. The number of daily tickets to both ships is limited and sell out on busy days, so be sure to arrive early.
Like Arizona, Missouri is no longer in her original configuration. In the case of Missouri, the cause is a long history of service modifications, the most recent reflecting service in the 1991 Gulf War. The cumulative effect has been to reduce the number of 5 inch guns from 10 mounts to six and the number of 40mm and 20mm to zero, all replaced by modern systems such as Tomahawk, Harpoon, CIWS, and chaff. The catapults aft were removed in favor of a helo pad and, later, UAVs. New radar and communications were added, including a large antenna on the bow. This is no longer the Missouri of 1945, but the Missouri of 1991. No attempt is being made to restore her to original configuration, and rightly so as WW II was but the beginning of a long and distinguished career for this most famous of US battleships.
Conversion to a memorial has followed a path of heavy commercialization. Coin-fed telescopes have sprouted aboard, trading authenticity for income. Memorabilia are sold aboard as well as in the large shore side gift shop. Engines and other major below decks spaces are open to public visitation, but only by paying substantial additional fees. The amount of rust and other deterioration gives an indication of the need for this additional income. Care and restoration of a battleship is expensive, and Missouri needs a lot. Given the historical sigificance of this ship, one's expectations are high when boarding Missouri for the first time, but meeting these expectations costs considerably more than on most other monument ships. If the higher prices ensure her survival into the indefinite future, then it is worth it.
Copyright (C) 1998 LDJ Trust