All sites have resumed their normal operating hours. The Battleship Missouri Memorial is open Daily from 8 am to 4 pm. The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum is open Daily from 7 am to 5 pm. The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is open Daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

Tanker War

by Nov 24, 2019

Battle Group Echo during Operation Earnest Will, USS Missouri leading the center column with USS Ranger (CV-61) following, with USS Long Beach (CGN-9) tailing. The other ships in the battle group are, from top, first column: USNS Hassayampa (T-AO-145), USS Leftwich (DD-984) and USS Hoel (DDG-13); second column: USS Kansas City (AOR-3), USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), and USS Robert E. Peary (FF-1073); fourth column: USS Wichata (AOR-1), USS Gridley (CG-21), and USS Curts (FFG-38); and fifth column: USS Shasta* (AE-33), USS John Young (DD-973) and USS Buchanan (DDG-14).

By 1984, the Iran-Iraq War had created a dangerous environment for Kuwaiti Oil tankers attempting to safely transit the Persian Gulf. In December 1986, the Kuwait Oil Tanker Company (KOTC) approached the US Coast Guard, asking the United States (and the USSR) for protection. The Reagan administration agreed to the request to reflag Kuwaiti oil tankers with the American flag, and to provide safe escort through the Gulf.

The Operation would be called Earnest Will, said to be the largest assembled naval force since the war in Vietnam.

It began that summer, with eleven tankers reflagged, getting underway on July 22, 1987.

Two days later, on July 24, the Kuwaiti oil tanker al-Rekkah, renamed MV Bridgeton, struck a floating mine. Though hull damage was minimal, it was yet another sobering reminder of the hostile environment, preceded by the Iraqi missile strike on the USS Stark in May, killing 37 American crew.

The next day, USS Missouri was ordered to the Persian Gulf, departing on what would become more than 100 days at sea in a tense and hostile environment.

USS Stark after Missile attack in May 1987.

USS Missouri in the Persian Gulf with Battle Group Echo during Operation Earnest Will in 1987. Photo taken from the flight deck of the USS Ranger (CV-61) by Command Chaplain, Cdr. Steven Jensen.