August 14th Photos Page

August 14th was a day of celebration at the Battleship, commemorating the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII. Although VJ day (September 2, 1945) is the day the official Instruments of Surrender were signed onboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, August 14th is recognized as the day hostilities ended.  The celebration was organized by a group called the Spirit of '45, and in addition to the displays of vintage equipment and uniforms on the pier and in the Wardroom there was also a reenactment of the signing of the Instruments of Surrender complete with a stand in of General Douglas MacArthur and the Japanese representatives.  There was also a bugler who sounded taps from atop Turret 3 at 7:00 pm followed by a '40s themed dance and dinner on the fantail.  Below are a bunch of photos taken today, and I must admit as a former Army guy I felt right at home among all that OD green equipment on the pier!  My next day onboard will be August 28th, hope to see you there.

 

August 14th Photo #1
This was the first vehicle I saw when I arrived at the ship this morning.

August 14th Photo #2

As the sign says it's a 1943 M4A1 Half Track!  Plus this one has an
interesting history having starred in the movie Patton and in Kelly's
Heroes (one of my favorite WWII movies, right up there with The
Enemy Below and The Guns of Navarone).  If you're familiar with
Kelly's Heroes, this is one of the two half tracks they use to get
behind enemy lines to begin their heist.  This one was driven by
"Cowboy" right through the side of a barn early in the movie when
they capture the German officer who tells Kelly about the gold.
Anyway, movie star status aside, this was a really cool ride!
August 14th Photo #3
One more shot as I turn and head down the pier to see what else awaits.
August 14th Photo #4
This was the scene on the pier, an interesting cast of 
characters and equipment were on display to all ships visitors.
August 14th Photo #5
I liked this jeep, it looked ready for some serious action!  It reminded
me of an old TV show, I think it was called Rat Patrol...  Anyhow they
drove jeeps like this in the desert and kicked some serious @ss!
August 14th Photo #6
Here's another cool piece, looked ready to kick start and go!
August 14th Photo #7
In addition to the bike above, this was the only other vehicle
on the pier painted Haze Gray, and it looked pretty spiffy too!
August 14th Photo #8
A shot down the pier from the main deck.
August 14th Photo #9
Now I bet you're saying, why the heck is there a photo of the ships
bell here?  Well, let me tell you...  As I mentioned above,
at 1:00 pm 
there was a reenactment of the signing of the Instruments of Surrender
ending WWII.  Since the Big J is a sister ship of the Mighty Mo, we were
able to recreate the scene in the exact location on the New Jersey as it
was on the Missouri.  At the conclusion of the reenactment, when General
MacArthur said these proceedings are closed, we rang the ships bell three
times.  Myself and a fellow Brass Team member climbed up to the O7 level
and did the ringing.  It sounded great, and added a nice touch to the event.
August 14th Photo #10
Photo of a tug that was heading up river while we waited to ring the bell.
August 14th Photo #11
After ringing the bell we made our way down to the O1 level, starboard
side, just aft of Turret 2 where the reenactment had just occurred.  At
this time a gentleman who was a crewman onboard Missouri the day
of the signing was speaking to the assembled crowd and sharing some
stories of that historic day from the perspective of a ships crewmember.
  He had some neat stories and it was great to have him with us today.
August 14th Photo #12
After he finished speaking I snapped this shot of the
USS Missouri crewmember.  His name is Ed Buffman.
August 14th Photo #13
I ran into this group in the Wardroom after the reenactment was over.
That's General MacArthur with his iconic corn cob pipe, to his right is his
his son, to his left is a WWII veteran who was onboard for the festivities
and the Captain next to him is General MacArthur's wife!  There were also
 a number of Tuskegee Airmen present in the Wardroom today and I enjoyed
 talking to several of them about the aircraft they had flown and experiences
they had.  All in all a great day and one that will likely be celebrated again
next year, after all what better place to celebrate the end of WWII than
on the most decorated Battleship in the fleet!
 

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Line Drawing of Big J

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Last updated on March 02, 2010.