USS Missouri is an Iowa class battleship that was built by the New York Navy Yard. She was launched for the first time on June 11, 1944. While she spent the rest of that year allowing the crew to become familiar with the ship she was preparing for combat and starting the transition process to the Pacific Ocean.
Action in World War II
When she reached the war zone in the Pacific Ocean she was put to work right away supporting the Iwo Jima invasion, the Ryukyus campaign and even in raiding the home islands of the Japanese nation. In May she was moved up to the flagship of the Third Fleet and was even on hand during the surrender of Japan in 1945.
When the war was over the Missouri was sent back to the United States and took part in the great naval review in 1945. However, her time stateside would be short lived as she was sent to the Mediterranean on diplomatic terms. For the remainder of the 1940s and into 1950 the Missouri was set to patrolling the Atlantic Ocean. She was even the main ship in the grounding incident off of Hampton Roads. However, she was quickly repaired and returned to service.
Action in the Korean War
The Missouri would see combat again as she was the only battleship that was in active duty status when the Korean war was started. Since it started she would serve two combat deployments into the Western Pacific. After that tour of duty the ship was sent into training cruises with European allies. She was not to be saved from being decommissioned which happened in early 1955. However, she would become something different and would become an active tourist attraction as a reserve ship based in Bremerton, Washington.
After the Wars
After nearly three decades of being inactive the Iowa class battleships were reactivated in the 1980s and the Missouri got recommissioned in May of 1986. She did not have a slow period when she got recommissioned and ended up taking part of a world cruise, and had active duty in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. That would be the last bit of action that the ship would see as she was decommissioned again in March of 1992. The ship was stricken from the Resister in 1995 and was transferred to Pearl Harbor and has been a memorial since June of 1998.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet throughout conflicts during the last century, battleships also posed a lasting health risk to soldiers who served on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common on these ships because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.