The crash of a bottle of a 2001 vintage Missouri champagne against the steel hull of a new submarine tomorrow morning will officially attach the name of our state to a new Navy warship. [Read more…]
The observance of the 64th anniversary of the end of World War Two has taken place on the deck of the USS Missouri. Now it’s time for the ship to disappear from public view for about three months. It will be the first major maintenance on our state battleship in 17 years.
Seventeen years in a salt water environment takes a toll even on something as imposing as a battleship. But, as some Navy people say, "Rust never sleeps."
The Battleship Missouri will be towed from its mooring place in Hawaii to Drydock Four at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for a three-month, 15-million dollar overhaul.
President Michael Carr of the USS Missouri Memorial Association says the entire ship will be repainted. Rusty sections of the hull will be replaced. Humidity controls will be installed inside the ship. And they’ll make the ship more visitor friendly. "We do not have restroom facilities on the ship for our guests..so we’re going to be renovating one of the main aft restroom facilities on the main deck of the ship," he says. That’s a change that will be welcomed by the estimated 40-thousand visitors who go aboard every month.
The Missouri heads to drydock in about a month. The public will not be able to see it there. It has be towed back to Pier Foxtrot Five in January because the Navy has operational ships scheduled in as soon as the Missouri leaves. .
Our battleship is headed for drydock.
She fought in World War Two….in Korea…and in the first Gulf War. Now the USS Missouri battles rust and corrosion, moored in Pearl Harbor as part of the Arizona Memorial. The last time the Missouri was in dry dock was in 1992 as the government turned her over to the USS Missouri Memorial Association.
Association President Michael Carr says the paint will be sandblasted away from the Missouri, top to bottom and she’ll get a new coat of Navy gyre . He says there are places in the outer hull are so rusty he could stick his arm trough them. They are not endangering the ship. They’re above the water line. The ship also has an armored inner hull., But Carr says some segments as large as twenty by forty feet will be removed and replaced.
Other work will be done while the Missouri is in drydock or is ongoing. The association has contracted to install a sophisticated humidity control system inside, will install a modern restroom–it has no restrooms for visitors–and work will continue on replacement of every plank of the teak deck.
The Missouri heads to Drydock 4 of the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in September, after the ceremony commemorating the end of World War Two on the Missouri’s teak deck.
Questions about the construction of the new class of submarines have arisen even as the USS Missouri is being built.
The USS Missouri is among the elite, state-of-the-art Virginia class attack submarines, with enhanced stealth capabilities and highly accurate, lethal missiles. Yet, the Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard recently revealed an inspector signed off on three joint-weld inspections that he hadn’t performed.
Secretary of the Navy Raymond Mabus (MAY bus) isn’t worried.
"I think the fact that they found it, they corrected it and that it’s not going to have an impact on either safety or timing has allayed any concerns that anybody might have had," Mabus says.
A statement issued by the shipyard emphasized the issue involved the inspection of welds as opposed to the welds themselves. The trade publication Defense News reported it had obtained an internal report that revealed the inspector had performed most of his work on four Virginia-class nuclear subs, including the Missouri.
The issue is important, because of Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, stated desire to invest in flexible weapons systems. He says subs provide tremendous capability for intelligence and surveillance.
"A submarine covers the whole gamut," says Roughead. "When I commanded the Pacific Fleet, submarines were my favorite tool."
Roughead calls the latest line of nuclear submarines "the ultimate stealth weapon".
Northrop Grumman fired the inspector, calling the situation a personnel matter.
A non-profit organization has been created to help raise funds for the ship and crew of the USS Missouri – a new attack submarine that is expected to be commissioned in 2010.
The USS Missouri Commissioning Committee has a fundraising goal of $300,000 to cover things that go far beyond the costs of building the submarine. The Navy cannot use taxpayer dollars to pay for activities such as cookouts for crewmembers and their families, so some of the money will be used for that.
Navy Commander Dale Green, Commanding Officer of the USS Missouri, says construction is well on the way to being completed, which will be followed by training of the crew and commissioning in the summer of 2010.
This submarine will be the fifth US ship using the name of this state. The last ship to bear the name USS Missouri was the battleship that now rests adjacent to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That USS Missouri is famous for being the site on which the unconditional surrender of Japan was accepted in 1945 to end World War II.