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Turning back time

The List: 5 facts about the USS Missouri

Participants gather on the deck of the USS Missouri during the recent dedication ceremony for the stamp honoring her. From left are retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command and curator of the Navy; William Van Osdol, also known as “Billy V,” a radio host who served as master of ceremonies; Dr. Randall Williams, director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services; Mike Carr, president of the USS Missouri Memorial Foundation; Jeffrey Johnson, the Postal Service’s enterprise analytics acting vice president; Charlene Campbell, a Honolulu Processing and Distribution Center clerk who performed the national anthem; and Rear Adm. Brian P. Fort of U.S. Navy Region Hawaii.

To help mark the recent release of the USS Missouri stamp, here are five facts about the World War II-era battleship.

1. The USS Missouri had a long-term connection to President Harry Truman. The battleship was launched on Jan. 29, 1944, and was christened by Margaret Truman, daughter of Missouri Sen. Harry S. Truman, who would become president in 1945. When the ship was recommissioned on May 10, 1986, Margaret told the ship’s crew to “take care of my baby.”

2. X marks the spot. A plaque on the Missouri’s main deck locates where representatives from the Empire of Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender on Sept. 2, 1945. The document was countersigned by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the supreme allied commander, and representatives from the other Allied Powers.

3. The battleship sailed around the world. In 1986, the Missouri embarked on a cruise that took it across the Pacific to Australia, the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Portugal and then across the Atlantic and through the Panama Canal. Missouri was the first U.S. battleship to circumnavigate the globe since President Theodore Roosevelt dispatched the “Great White Fleet” on a similar tour in 1907. That fleet included the first battleship Missouri.

4. The battleship was an MTV star in 1989. The deck of the Missouri, along with its big guns, served as the setting for Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” video, which was controversial because the singer wore a see-through body stocking and a one-piece bathing suit. MTV would only play the video after 9 p.m.

5. She was ready for her close-up in 2012. Missouri appeared that year in the film “Battleship,” starring Liam Neeson. Though retired, Missouri was taken out of port for one day in 2010 for filming and was crewed by Navy personnel.

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