One ship moored near the Pearl Harbor memorials dedicated to the December 7th, 1941 attack might seem out of place. The USS Missouri (BB-63)—lovingly known as the “Mighty Mo”—is a curious addition to Pearl Harbor because she wasn’t launched until well after the attack took place.
After fighting in the last year of the war with Japan, the Mighty Mo served as the location where Japan would sign the official surrender documents. On the deck of the Missouri, Allied and Japanese officials gathered to witness the official end of World War II.
In 1992, the Missouri was decommissioned and eventually added to the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.
In addition to being open to the public, offering an interactive look at what life at sea was like aboard a battleship, the Missouri has served an additional role for the past decade.
From August 20th, 2017 to September 1st, 2017, the Missouri was the site of the Chief Petty Officer Legacy Academy. Since 2007, the Mighty Mo has hosted the six-day course for selectees for Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy. Participants are required to live aboard the battleship with mentors, where they learn the history behind the position of the chief petty officer.
During their time aboard¸ prospective CPOs took part in activities focused around preservation, leadership training, and reenactments, to give them a feel for the potential issues that can arise for the on-board Chief. To round out their training, participants were taken to historic sites around Pearl Harbor in honor of the Chief Petty Officers who came before them, and to prepare them for their future duties.
Taking place aboard such an important piece of American history, moored in an equally important place in American history, the CPO academy aims to mold selected candidates to the same standards that some of the greatest CPOs achieved in their positions. Participants are trained to understand the importance of leadership as a Chief Petty Officer and how being a CPO also means being ready to pass that knowledge and skill to others, in hopes of pushing them down the path to joining the next generation of Chiefs.