The Iron Lady, and US Battleships From Fred Bodin

Fred writes-

I recently watched the movie "Iron Lady" on DVD, starring Merrill Streep. It’s about Prime Minister Margaret Thacher of Great Britain. I love the the overall history, but particularly in this film, her retaking of the Falkland Islands from Argentina. I watched the war segment, mostly news clips, three times. The short war confirmed the strategy of using warships versus the devastating power of aircraft with the latest (in 1982) missile technology. An amazing fact, that I learned a decade ago, is when the last US Navy battleship was built. Do you know?


Battleship USS Alabama, Rockport, circa 1900. As technology changes, so does that of naval and air warfare. No wonder many innovations we use every day are developed by the military.


Battleship USS Missouri

USS Missouri (BB-63) was ordered in 1940 and commissioned in June 1944. In the Pacific Theater of World War II she fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and shelled the Japanese home islands, and she fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. She was decommissioned in 1955 into the United States Navy reserve fleets (the "Mothball Fleet"), but reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, and provided fire support during Operation Desert Storm in January/February 1991.
Missouri received a total of 11 battle stars for service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf, and was finally decommissioned on 31 March 1992, but remained on the Naval Vessel Register until her name was struck in January 1995. In 1998, she was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association and became a museum ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Wikipedia.

Fredrik D. Bodin


  • I do not believe any US battleships have been built since WW2 and the last was in fact the Missouri in 1944. Carrier fleets have supplanted the battleships for the most part in naval warfare and the most recent battleships were used primarily for shore bombardment of enemies whose resources were sparse since WW2. In fact no battleships are in service now, although with the modern cruise missiles a present day cruiser is just about as intimidating.


  • It’s worth noting that the Japanese surrender was signed aboard the Missouri, and after the war she paraded around including a stop in Gloucester. Guests were welcomed aboard, and my father’s photo collection includes a number of pictures from her visit.


  • Fred = we “meet” again over battleships… Bet you didn’t know that Bela Lyon Pratt also did a sculptural piece to go on the turret of the S.S. ALABAMA, as well as for the S.S. Massachusetts (which we’ve already discussed) – both pieces viewable on the website
    Cheers – Cynthia


  • Thanks for this little piece of history, Fred. My uncle, Wm.W.Dyer served on three early battleships during his 35 year US Navy Career. The first USSMisouri in 1912, the first USS Wyoming in 1913 and the first USS Louisiana in 1918. Bill Joined the Navy as an Ordinary Seaman in 1911 and retired as a Lieutenant Commander in 1946. He died in Gloucester in 1984.


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