|WWII's Missouri heads toward major refurbishment|
|Written by By Associated Press|
|Thursday, 15 October 2009 06:08|
HONOLULU (AP) — Four tugboats gently maneuvered the iconic World War II battleship USS Missouri into a dry dock on Wednesday, where it will undergo a major refurbishment.
The vessel, now a memorial and museum, is a symbol of the fiercest Pacific battles. It has been moored for the last 11 years in Pearl Harbor, where a Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941, prompted the United States to enter the war.
The "Mighty Mo," the last battleship built by the United States, was also the site of Japan's surrender on Sept. 2, 1945.
On Wednesday, the 887-foot(270-meter)-long Missouri was coaxed from its Ford Island mooring and slowly nudged two miles (3.2 kilometers) to the huge Drydock 4, where it will sit until early January. In the meantime, it will be sandblasted and painted, and rusted metal will be removed, at the cost of $18 million.
Navy Petty Officer James Stoddard volunteered to man the Missouri's rope lines and spend all day on board. "How many times you get to ride a battleship?" Stoddard asked. "I don't see them making any more in the future."
The USS Missouri Memorial Association now operates the ship.
After the move, the dock's gates closed and more than 50 million gallons (189 million liters) of water were pumped out, eventually leaving the 54,889-ton vessel sitting on 310 wooden blocks that weigh four tons each.
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