He helped fire the 16-inch guns on the battleship Missouri. Today, he’s on his way today to Connecticut to help put the new USS Missouri into service

He’ll be 84 on August 7th. Harry Weiss’s memories of his two years on the USS Missouri battleship during the Korean War remain vivid—especially his work as an engineer in one of the 16-inch gun turrets…and the day one of guns fired a two-ton shell that traveled 23 miles and landed right on the mouth of a tunnel Chinese troops were using to move into North Korea.

But when Harry Weiss thinks of the new USS Missouri and what it can do, he’s in awe. “I think it’s so great,” he says He sometimes wishes he could have been a submariner. But a little claustrophobia makes that unrealistic.

He is amazed by the size of the “monstrous” boat that’s 337 feet long, 38 feet wide, has missiles with more firepower than the battleship had and doesn’t have to be refueled for 30 years. “It tremendous, you know,” he says.

Weiss remembers when he and his crewmates turned the battleship Missouri over to a new crew in 1951, hoping they’d carry on the tradition of excellence he and his crew maintained. He says they did–and he’s sure the first crew of the new Missouri will carry on that heritage.

Harry Weiss tells Bob Priddy a lot of stories. 54:13 mp3