USS Missouri’s 16-inch gun finds home at Fort Miles historic site

After wartime service in the Pacific aboard the storied “Mighty Mo” – the battleship USS Missouri – one of the ship’s nine original 16-inch guns that fired 2,700-pound shells was moved today to a permanent display within historic Fort Miles at Cape Henlopen State Park.

Of yet another historic note, the big gun was mounted on the Missouri and overlooking her veranda deck when the Japanese surrender was accepted there September 2, 1945, ending World War II.

Among the largest pieces of U.S. Naval artillery ever made, the 16-inch gun was saved just days before it was to be cut up for scrap and moved by barge and rail from a naval yard in Norfolk to the park by the Fort Miles Historical Association (FMHA).

The FMHA raised $113,500 in private donations and received several key grants from the G.M. Foundation, Sussex County Council and the Delaware Department of Economic Development’s Division of Tourism to transport the 116-ton, 66-foot-long gun barrel to Delaware.

“The USS Missouri’s gun is an important piece of American history that will draw families and tourists to Fort Miles and the beautiful shores of Cape Henlopen State Park,” said Governor Jack Markell.

“The spirit and dedication of the volunteers of the Fort Miles Historical Association is reminiscent of this country’s ‘Greatest Generation’ that built and manned Fort Miles and protected the region during World War II,” said DNREC Secretary David Small. “The gun is representative of those who were stationed at Fort Miles for coastal defense. Now students, veterans, families, visitors and history buffs can relive an important part of Delaware history surrounded by the buildings and artifacts that will help make that experience come alive.”