The USS Missouri Memorial Association is recognizing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its many hours of volunteer service performed by members and missionaries on the battleship at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. For the past 10 years, missionaries from the Church have provided service aboard the famous decommissioned United States Navy battleship known as the “Mighty Mo.” The association presented a plaque made out of the ship’s original teakwood deck toElder Daniel L. Johnson of the First Quorum of the Seventy on behalf of President Thomas S. Monson in a ceremony aboard the ship on December 5, 2014.
Every week on Wednesday mornings, a group of 16 elders, sisters and senior missionaries can be seen cleaning, sweeping, wiping handrails, painting, moving material on and off the ship and setting up and taking down chairs, banners and flags for programs and ceremonies. The service project also includes a history lesson about the ship.
“We just do whatever needs to be done,” explained Elder Lee Cordon of Meridian, Idaho. He and his wife are serving as missionaries in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission.
Church missionaries and members began volunteering on the ship 15 years ago, providing a total of 27,000 hours of service. The missionaries from 10 mission districts on the island of Oahu have been credited with an estimated 15,000 hours of service since they started volunteering on a regular basis in 2010.
Elder Russ Cleveland has been documenting some of the service provided by the missionaries on ship with his camera. He and his wife are from California, but they are serving as senior missionaries in Honolulu. “What a treat for us,” is how the couple described an opportunity to serve on the ship last spring. The service project included sweeping the deck, dusting the white folding chairs and moving 97 mattresses from the lower decks of the ship to the pier so they could be transferred to a Canadian ship that was damaged in a fire.
The Battleship Missouri Memorial opened in January 1999. Much of the ship has been refurbished, with exterior walls cleaned and repainted, the decks groomed, the brass polished and interior spaces cleared for visitors.
The Missouri was launched on January 29, 1944, and commissioned on June 11, 1944. She was the last battleship built. The USS Missouri was assigned to the Pacific Third Fleet and steamed into Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1944. The Missouri secured its place in history as the site of Japan’s surrender to Allied Forces on September 2, 1945, ending World War II.
The USS Missouri, with its nine trademark 16-inch barrel guns, was also used in Korea. The ship was decommissioned in 1955, but brought back into service again in 1986 after undergoing extensive modernization and refurbishment for deployment to the Persian Gulf in 1991.
The “Mighty Mo” was decommissioned for the second time in 1992. The nonprofit USS Missouri Memorial Association became the caretaker for the battleship in August 1996, and Pearl Harbor was made its permanent home.