When the future USS Missouri (BB 63) was launched and christened 70 years ago today by Margaret Truman, then-Sen. Harry S. Truman‘s daughter, no one knew the historic path the “Mighty Mo” would soon embark upon. Just like no one knew that Truman would be president in little more than a year, no one could know that the Missouri would be the site of the Japanese surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945. With her launching on Jan. 29, 1944, the Missouri became the third ship to bear the name of the state of Missouri. Although the third of four Iowa-class battleships to be launched, she was completed after the USS Wisconsin, thus making her the last battleship completed by the U.S. Navy.
In her 70 years, the Missouri has gone through two commissionings, two decommissionings, World War II, the Korean War, and Operation Desert Storm. The Missouri has also been the setting for two movies, Under Siege and Battleship. The Missouri continues her service to the United States as the Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where, along with the USS Arizona Memorial, she symbolizes the beginning and end of U.S. involvement in World War II.