FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Exhibit Unveiling Marks the 70th Anniversary of the Kamikaze Attack Against the USS Missouri
and Inspiring Display of Humanity Shown by the Captain and Crew to the Deceased Pilot
Pearl Harbor, HI – (April 2, 2015) – Seventy years after the USS Missouri came under attack from a Japanese kamikaze pilot, a special exhibit never before shown outside Japan will be unveiled revealing another perspective of how humanity triumphs over warfare.
On Saturday, April 11, the new exhibit will be displayed aboard the retired USS Missouri – site of Japan’s formal surrender to the Allied Forces on September 2, 1945 to end World War II – and feature a rare collection of artifacts, images and archival materials gathered about kamikaze pilots, including final good-bye letters. The collection is being provided courtesy of the city of Minamikyushu, Kagoshima, Japan, home to the Chiran Peace Museum, where the kamikaze artifacts are stored.
“The scar from the kamikaze attack is still visible on the side of the USS Missouri, but it now serves as a reminder to our guests that in the midst of war between enemies, a meaningful act of humanity emerged that continues to inspire today,” said Michael Carr, president and CEO of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. “We are also honored to present in this exhibit historical artifacts from the Chiran Peace Museum and show today’s generations another side to the people engaged in war and how the world has changed since then.”
The April 11 unveiling and the USS Missouri – now known as the Battleship Missouri Memorial and berthed in Pearl Harbor – as the host site for the exhibit is especially appropriate considering the history and humanity of 70 years ago that connects Japan’s kamikaze with America’s last battleship.
USS Missouri Displays Humanity After Kamikaze Attack – April 11, 1945
On the afternoon of April 11, 1945, with tensions at their highest in the Pacific theatre of World War II, a kamikaze pilot crashed a Japanese Zero fighter plane into the starboard side of the USS Missouri during the Battle of Okinawa.
Fortunately, the Missouri sustained only minor damage and none of its crewmembers suffered serious injuries. However, the pilot – believed to be 19-year-old Setsuo Ishino – was killed instantly, his body found among the wreckage on the deck.
The USS Missouri’s commanding officer, Captain William M. Callaghan, issued an order that the pilot be given a military burial at sea the following morning. A Japanese flag, hastily-sewn and pieced together by Missouri crewmembers, was draped over the pilot’s body and as he was laid to rest, the Marine guard fired a traditional three-volley rifle salute, a bugler played “Taps” and the ship’s chaplain, Roland Faulk, concluded the brief ceremony with the words, “Commend his body to the deep.”
First-Ever Display of Artifacts on U.S. Soil
To help commemorate the 70th anniversary of the humanity shown by Captain Callaghan and the Missouri’s crew, historical artifacts showing a personal side to the kamikaze pilots, known as the Japanese tokko tai (special attack forces), will be displayed onboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial. The artifacts are on loan from the Chiran Peace Museum, which was built in the same location where many kamikaze pilots departed for their final mission.
This will be the first-ever showing of these artifacts outside of Japan. They provide a rare glimpse into the lives and final days of these young kamikaze pilots. Included within the collection are farewell letters and poems (translated in English) written by the pilots to family members and loved ones, personal photographs and information, historical images, and uniform items. The artifacts will be on display this year through November 11, Veterans Day.
Preceding the exhibit’s opening will be a special ceremony hosted by the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Among the speakers will be Mayor Kanpei Shimoide of Minamikyushu, who will address the significance of the 70th anniversary and the artifacts being shared for display. The ceremony will be followed by a traditional Hawaiian blessing and opening of the exhibit, which will be housed one deck below the main deck of the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
What: Unveiling of Chiran Peace Museum Artifacts
When: Saturday, April 11, 10:00 a.m.
Where: Battleship Missouri Memorial, Fantail
Speaker: Mayor Kanpei Shimoide, Minamikyushu, Kagoshima, Japan
Admission: Ceremony is free and open to the public.
Base access and complimentary shuttle service will be provided.
Battleship Missouri Memorial to Mark 70th Anniversary of World War II’s End – September 2
This year is especially notable for America’s Armed Forces and World War II veterans and their families as it marks the 70th anniversary of when World War II ended on the decks of the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945. The Battleship Missouri Memorial will host a public ceremony commemorating the war’s end on Wednesday, September 2, at 9:02 a.m., the exact time when General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, began the proceedings heard worldwide. This year’s event will feature numerous historical artifacts that were part of the ceremony held 70 years ago.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
Since opening in January 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial has attracted more than 6-million visitors from around the world with a fascinating tour experience showcasing the USS Missouri’s unique place in history. Located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Mighty Mo completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” and sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and ends with Japan’s formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.
The USS Missouri had an astounding career over five decades and three wars – World War II, the Korean War, and Desert Storm – after which it was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Association operates the Battleship Missouri Memorial as a historic attraction and oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants, and donations.
The Battleship Missouri Memorial is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. General admission, which includes choice of an optional tour, is $25 per adult and $13 per child (4-12). Military, kama‘aina (local resident) and school group pricing is available. For information or reservations, call (toll-free) 1-877-644-4896 or visit USSMissouri.org.
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