The Decision to Retire
In January 1995, the "Mighty Mo," which had been largely neglected since 1992, suddenly became the object of considerable attention when the Navy decided to retire the vessel. The Missouri and three other huge Iowa-class battleships were placed in the Navy’s ship donation program, allowing any interested community to bid for the vessels. Bremerton, along with Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, San Francisco, and Long Beach, California, all submitted proposals to the Navy for the historic battleship. The vessel had been moored at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for 30 years (1954-1984).
The Missouri was opened to the public during the summer of 1995, and received 216,149 visitors. Ceremonies commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II, were held on September 2, 1995, on the Missouri’s surrender deck. (Japan's formal surrender to the Allied Powers in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, which ended World War II, took place on the deck of the USS Missouri.) The ship was closed to the public on September 4, the day after Labor Day.
Saying Goodbye To Mighty Mo
In August 1996, Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton decided Pearl Harbor would be the Missouri’s permanent home. The other competing communities complained to the Navy that the selection process was flawed and unfair, but to no avail; the decision stood.
In January 1998, the Navy reopened the U.S.S Missouri for the public’s last opportunity to visit the famous ship before she left for Hawaii. Open for only three weekends, the “Mighty Mo” received 24,000 visitors. The Missouri departed Bremerton forever on May 26, 1998, and was towed to her new home on Ford Island near the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.