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USS Missouri (BB-63)

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USS MISSOURI (BB-63) 1992
by George Bisharat

Overall Print Size: 11" x 17"

Edition Size: Open

The USS Missouri, "Mighty Mo," a 887 feet long Iowa-class battleship, was launched January 29, 1944 and commissioned June 11, 1944.  It was on board the Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, that the Japanese Empire surrendered to the Allied Powers on September 2, 1945.  The USS Missouri was then decommissioned on February 26, 1955. 

Under the Reagan Administration’s program to build a 600-ship Navy, led by Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman, Missouri was reactivated and towed by the salvage ship Beaufort to the Long Beach Naval Yard in the summer of 1984 to undergo modernization in advance of her scheduled recommissioning.  In preparation for the move, a skeleton crew of 20 spent three weeks working 12- to 16-hour days preparing the battleship for her tow.  During the modernization Missouri had her obsolete armament removed: 20 mm and 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, and four of her ten 5-inch (127 mm) gun mounts.  

Over the next several months, the ship was upgraded with the most advanced weaponry available; among the new weapons systems installed were four Mk 141 quad cell launchers for 16 RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, eight Mk 143 Armored Box Launcher mounts for 32 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and a quartet of Phalanx Close In Weapon System Gatling guns for defense against enemy anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft.  Also included in her modernization were upgrades to radar and fire control systems for her guns and missiles, and improved electronic warfare capabilities.  During the modernization Missouri's 800 pound bell, which had been removed from the battleship and sent to Jefferson City, Missouri for sesquicentennial celebrations in the state, was formally returned to the battleship in advance of her recommissioning.  Missouri was formally recommissioned in San Francisco on 10 May 1986.

Missouri was later outfitted with 40 mm grenade launchers and 25 mm chain guns and saw action in Operation Ernest Will and the Gulf War.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the absence of a perceived threat to the United States came drastic cuts in the defense budget, and the high cost of maintaining and operating battleships as part of the United States Navy's active fleet became uneconomical; as a result, Missouri was decommissioned on March 31, 1992 at Long Beach, California after 16 total years of active service.

On October 14, 2009, Missouri was moved from her berthing station on Battleship Row to a drydock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to undergo a three-month overhaul. The work, priced at $18 million, included installing a new anti-corrosion system, repainting the hull, and upgrading the internal mechanisms. Drydock workers reported that the ship was leaking at some points on the starboard side.  The repairs were completed the first week of January 2010 and the ship was returned to her berthing station on Battleship Row on January 7, 2010. The ship's grand reopening occurred on January 30.

The battleship is shown in outstanding detail in a top view and a side profile as she appeared at the time of her decommissioning in 1992. 

This beautiful, mint condition print measures 11" x 17" and is personally signed and dated by the artist.