Big Mo Gets a Stamp

| June 16, 2019

Every now and then, somebody does something right.

This time, it’s the USS Missouri, aka Big Mo. A US Post Office stamp has been issued in this retired battleship’s honor.

USS Missouri stamp

If you don’t know the history of the Navy’s battleships, they started with the War of Independence and Oliver Hazard Perry’s attempts in the early 19th century to get the British Navy’s ships out of the Great Lakes, and just went from there. The last wooden-hulled battleship afloat is Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution.

The first steel hulled battleship was the USS Texas in 1892, but the first designated steel-hulled modern battleship was the USS Indiana BB-1,  officially started in 1890 and commissioned in 1895.  USS Maine (ACR-1) was a United States Navy ship that sank in Havana Harbor in 1898, contributing to the outbreak of the Spanish–American War in 1898. These were of the pre-dreadnought class.

The dreadnoughts were those giant ships with 16-inch guns that were built prior to World War II, effectively replacing the pre-dreadnoughts.  These new ships were the so-called fast battleship. They began with North Carolina BB-55 and the last ship laid down was Kentucky BB-66, while the last completed ship was Wisconsin BB-64

USS Missouri BB-63 was one of them. The Missouri was ordered in 1940 and commissioned in June 1944. She fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and even shelled the Japanese home islands. She was the ship on whose deck the government of Japan’s representative signed the peace treaty, ending the War in the Pacific.

During the battle for Okinawa, a Japanese Zero flew a kamikaze run at Missouri, in the direct line of fire of the ship’s gunnery. One of the photographers was the ship’s baker. The pilot did not survive his attack on the ship. The plane and part of his body went into the sea, and the remainder landed on the deck. He was given a burial at sea by the CO, Captain Gallagher.

Missouri also served during the Korean War, off Inchon in September 1950. Video is courtesy of Critical Past.

This 1988 video of firing the battleship’s 16-inch turret guns. Watch how carefully the Gunners Mates handle the powder kegs and you’ll realize just how big the breech itself is, when they stand next to it.

The Missouri deployed one last time to support Operation Desert Storm in 1990. Note the size of explosions of two mines detonated by frogmen in the Persian Gulf.  The video was produced for the crew of the USS Missouri.

After her term of service ended, Missouri made for Pearl Harbor and is now part of the battleship row memorial with Arizona.

Now, Big Mo is getting a US Post Office commemorative forever stamp. They cost $.55 each. It’s a nice piece of history. Without ships like this and the rest of the fleet, and the crews who served on them, things might have gone quite differently.

Category: Historical, Navy

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Great videos, Ex. Thanks.
Off Beruit- this is not a dog-and-pony show.
Big Mo Guns


Got my initial Naval Gunfire Spotter quals while controlling 16-inch fires from USS IOWA (BB-61) during an exercise down in Vieques.

Wish we still had the capability to bring that type of concentrated firepower to bear against our enemies.


If they can work out the kinks in the rail guns, you’ll see naval gunfire make a return. Won’t make as big of a show on the way out from the ship though.

There are a few things I read about in history books and really, really wish I could see first hand. One is a nuclear blast. The other is a full broadside from an Iowa-class battleship.


A shipmate of mine was TAD on New Jersey when she fired broadsides. He said you could feel the ship move sideways in the water!

A Proud Infidel®™️

HOLY SHEEP SHIT, that’s a LOT of propellant, I remember learning that the Minimum Safe Distance when calling for 16” Naval Gun Fire is literally 2 miles!


From the wiki:

“They fired projectiles weighing from 1,900 to 2,700 pounds (850 to 1,200 kg) at a maximum speed of 2,690 feet per second (820 m/s) with a range of up to 24 miles (39 km). At maximum range the projectile spent almost 1½ minutes in flight. Each turret required a crew of 79 men to operate.”

For scale, that’s a Mini Cooper being launched at Mach 2.4!

Comm Center Rat

Long stick goes BOOM!

The Other Whitey

On a related note, I heard recently that the dreadnought battleship USS Texas (BB-35) will be saved. Sounds like the Texas legislature is authorizing the money to preserve her. The museum foundation has also been raising money. My Dad and I went in halves on a commemorative Henry rifle for the cause. The Russian online gaming company has also raised money through their game World of Warships.

Texas is a New York-class battleship, launched in 1912 and commissioned in 1914. She saw active service in both World Wars, shelled Omaha Beach, and directly supported the Rangers at Pointe de Hoc. She is also the only remaining dreadnought battleship in the world; though often mistakenly described as dreadnoughts, the Iowa, South Dakota, and North Carolina classes are fast battleships, which are evolutionary descendants of the dreadnought.


And she’s parked east of Houston and available to tour! A favorite site for visitors, adjacent to the San Jacinto monument.

The Stranger

I’m surprised that our Redleg friend isn’t on this thread talking about floating artillery!🙃

On a technical note, 2 miles is an awfully long distance for “danger close”

5th/77th FA

Y’all pardon my woodie. Blame Ex-PH2! It’s her fault.

Some serious floating artillery there. Tanks Matey.


Was a great article on the modern Iowa class battleships, I think in Guns and Ammo, in which they talked about the “Navy’s Varmint Rifles”. The 16 inchers shoot within minute-of-arc accuracy, and can lay all three VW size HE rounds into a football field 20 miles away. As configured at the end of their service, EACH SHIP had more firepower than the WWII Pacific fleet. Wood indeed.


Thank You, Ex-PH2, for sharing this about the USS Missouri Forever Stamps as well as her history. Another trivia about her is the music video “If I Could Turn Back Time”, takes place on board the battleship USS Missouri. It depicts Cher and her band performing a concert for the ship’s crew. The video was filmed in Los Angeles on Friday night, June 30, 1989, while the ship was stationed at the former Long Beach Naval Shipyard at Pier D. In the video, the band plays on the foredeck, and the ship is rigged with spotlights, light racks and strobes. The Navy had granted permission for the music video shoot because of its potential for boosting Navy recruitment: the Navy did not have a budget for TV ads in 1989. The Navy initially selected the battleship USS New Jersey for the video. However, the New Jersey was out to sea when Callner, the music director, needed to do an initial site survey, so he toured its sister ship, USS Missouri, instead. During Callner’s visit, USS Missouri’s public affairs officer, Lt. Mark Walker, convinced him to change the filming location to the USS Missouri. Cher’s outfit for the original video, a fishnet body stocking under a black one-piece bathing suit that left most of her buttocks (and a tattoo of a butterfly) exposed, proved very controversial, and many television networks refused to show the video. The outfit and risque nature of the video were a complete surprise to the Navy, who expected Cher to wear a jumpsuit for the concert, as presented on storyboards during original discussions with producers. The sailors were already in place and the band had begun playing when Cher emerged in her outfit. Lt. Cmdr Steve Honda from the Navy’s Hollywood Liaison office requested Callner briefly suspend shooting and convince Cher to change into more conservative attire, but Callner, the Music Director, refused. The Navy received criticism for allowing the video shoot, especially from World War II veterans who saw it as a desecration of a national historic site that should be treated with reverence since the… Read more »


Hadn’t heard that! Very interesting!


My shots of Mighty (or Muddy, if you prefer) Mo.
And while we are at it. . .
Pearl and Mo:
Ford Island:
Arizona and Utah memorials:


If you don’t get the “Muddy” reference:


Wow! Missour’s teak decks do NOT look good.


Cool beans. I was a volunteer on the “Mighty Mo” when I was a staff puke at PACFLT.

I am a ham radio operator and worked in the radio shack. LOADS of fun. Every time I got on the air it was a guaranteed pile up.

And I was a volunteer as the 60th anniversary of the 1945 Surrender came up. Our awesome radio club president was able to convince a museum curator (in Monterey, CA IIRC) to loan us the manual morse key that was used to announce to the world in 1945 that the surrender had been signed. When the anniversary arrived, one of our members started our ham radio day by resending the exact message announcing the end of the war. Chills! I still have a picture of me holding the key. Little things can mean a lot.

There were times when I would finish my day at Makalapa and run over to the ship for a few hours of radio. One day, I was “moving with a purpose” decked out in my khakis. I entered the ship and moved immediately to radio. About 30 seconds after entering, there was a tentative knock on the radio room door. I opened it and there was a man standing there with an obviously scared woman standing behind him. When the man saw me, he laughed and said that the frightened lady thought I was a ghost of WW2 Past. We all had a chuckle about it.

I have to say, though, from the very late nights working on the ship in radio that there is NOTHING creepier than walking through a darkened ship with nobody on board. Well, at least nobody living. I always got the fuck off the ship mosh skosh rikki tik. There are those who claim to have seen ghosts on board. Brrr!


I’m a few hours away from the North Carolina. They had some reality tv ghost hunter do a segment on the ship. It too is supposed to be haunted. I remember touring her when I was only 12 and how my legs were sore the next day from running up and down the steep labors with my friends. I think this July, I’ll take my kids to see her, even though the oldest will let me know “dad, I saw this in high school”