Famed for its honorable and decorated service in three wars - World War II, the Korean War and the Gulf War - earning 11 battle stars and the nickname, the "Mighty Mo" - USS Missouri now docks herself permanently at Fort Island, Hawaii, and welcomes visitors from around the world to board and learn about her historic accomplishments. Making sure the Mighty Mo is in pristine condition when visitors arrive, a volunteer work force takes seriously the duty of dusting, cleaning, painting and swabbing the deck on daily basis. Soldiers of A Company, 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, took the opportunity to improve the ship\'s appearance during their unit's volunteer day, October 24. Upon arrival, the company was broke up into three groups. Group one was charged with swabbing the deck; group two was in charged of painting; and group three took command of shovels, clippers, rakes and trash bags for cleaning up the shoreline gardens and parking lot. "This was a rare opportunity that not many people get a chance to do," said Pfc. Brynn Everett. "I felt honored to be allowed to participate." Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Moore agreed. "It was an honor and privilege to be helping to preserve a piece of World and American history, Moore said. Moore also said he said he felt the company's efforts honored the sailors who served on ship. While swabbing, clipping and painting, Soldiers got a taste of what it meant to be a sailor rather than a Soldier. "Swabbing the deck for a day gave me the chance to personally feel what it is like to be in another branch of the military," said Pfc. Gerardo Zapata. "There is always a slight rivalry amongst branches of our Armed Forces, but in the big picture, we are all the same. "I feel that being able to get "hands on" on the USS Missouri brought everyone a little closer (together) in A Company, and has given us more respect for our other branches of the military. I felt very proud to be able to stand atop the ship, even if it was only to clean the deck." The Soldiers also honored the ship's history and past sailors who served on her by learning about why the Mighty Mo is so significant to world and American history. "I did not realize that the Japanese surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri," Spc. Sharale Lovett. "I was shocked to find out that I was standing in the same place of such a historic event. It was cool to learn about the history if the ship, and assist in preserving a piece of our American history." During A Co's clean-up it was business as usual for the ship's tour guides and visitors. As Soldiers swabbed the deck and painted various areas, visitors from around the world walked among them. One tourist even asked to swab the deck with the Soldiers while her family took a photo. "It shows tourist and Americans alike that we are more then warfighters - we are charitable individuals," said Staff Sgt. Shawn Settles. "It helps build the Army's reputation." When their time at the USS Missouri came to an end, A Co. Soldiers did not leave empty handed. They now have once-in-a-life-time memories of a day they spent with the Mighty Mo, and their unit's hard work is another piece of her great history. -30-

Page last updated Wed November 5th, 2008 at 21:45