'Mighty Mo' returns as submarine named after World War II legend

World War II and the USS Missouri are forever linked.

It was on the deck of that mighty battleship that the Japanese, who attacked Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy port in Hawaii, 68 years ago today, formally surrendered in 1945.

Now the retired battleship is a floating museum at Pearl Harbor, in dry dock undergoing repairs. A new USS Missouri will carry on the name. The $2 billion nuclear attack submarine, the world's most advanced to date, was christened Saturday in Groton, Conn.

The timing, in proximity to Pearl Harbor Day, was a nice coincidence.

"For me, as a Missourian, to have a vessel as powerful as that one was something that was very special," said J. Stanton Thompson of Higginsville, Mo., a retired rear admiral. "The Navy has looked forward enough to name another major warship for our state. She will make her own history."

The old USS Missouri was not at Pearl Harbor during the surprise attack of Dec. 7, 1941, but its keel had been laid early that year at the New York Navy Yard. It was christened by Margaret Truman, daughter of then-Sen. Harry Truman of Missouri. It entered service in 1944.

The "Mighty Mo" served the United States over five decades and in three wars: World War II, Korea and the first Gulf War. It was decommissioned, and in 1998 it was donated to a nonprofit organization that operates it as a floating museum on Battleship Row at Pearl Harbor.

Visitors can see the historic spot on its deck where Japanese emissaries signed the surrender papers on Sept. 2, 1945, before Supreme Allied Commander Douglas MacArthur, ending World War II.

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