Monday, January 4, 2010

Battleship named for our state gets a facelift

The battleship Missouri has received a new paint job and a lot of other maintenance and repairs, and is scheduled to return Thursday to its pier in Pearl Harbor, where it is among Hawaii's top 10 tourist attractions.

The Missouri was the site of the formal surrender by the Japanese, ending World War II, Sept. 2, 1945.

The Honolulu Advertiser has a fact-filled page with a main story, photos and sidebars. I hope they leave it on the web for awhile. Some excerpts:

The battleship Missouri this week will be reborn after a three-month drydocking — its first since 1992 — and a top-to-bottom $15.5 million paint job.

The 887-foot "Mighty Mo," America's last battleship, is expected to leave drydock at Pearl Harbor at noon on Thursday for the 2-mile return to pier Foxtrot 5 at Ford Island and repositioning bow to bow with the sunken battleship USS Arizona.

The year 2010 brings a lot of renewal for the ship turned museum and memorial — a new look, a new rate structure, a new enclosure for events on the fantail, new onboard restrooms, mooring chains instead of ropes to keep the big ship in place, greater access on the second deck and a new enclosed entryway.

Michael Carr, the Missouri's president and chief operating officer, is just glad that the drydocking is nearly over. Last week, officials estimated the work was 90 percent to 95 percent completed.

"For me, every day was an education," said Carr, whose background is in the visitor and banking fields. "I'll be very happy when we get reopened and get back to doing what we do best — which is welcoming visitors."

On the morning of Oct. 14, those casting a glance in the vicinity of the Arizona Memorial saw something not seen since for 11 years — the Missouri uncoupled from its mooring.

With the drydocking, the Missouri, the site of Japan's unconditional surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, in Tokyo Bay, will be nearly as pristine for the 65th anniversary of the end of the war this year.

According to shipyard workers, the drydocking of the Missouri was the first for a battleship at Pearl Harbor since World War II.

...

A "soft" reopening of the Missouri, one of Hawai'i's 10 most popular tourist attractions, is expected around Jan. 15.

The new rate structure includes a tour for $20 — a slight reduction from the pre-move rate of $23 for entry onto the battleship and a guided tour, officials said.

A grand reopening is planned for Jan. 30, a day after the 66th anniversary of the Missouri's launch from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

It should be a point of pride for you that the battleship named for our state was the site of the Japanese surrender.

We also have a new submarine named for our great state; it was christened Dec. 7, the 68th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.



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