Project Operations held 19-22 April in the Southern California Operating Area successfully tested the battleship's helicopter landing and flight deck capabilities. During an inport period 2529 April in Long Beach hundreds of crewmen participated in a training availability when COMNAVSURFPAC Mobile Training Teams conducted training in firefighting, damage control, 3M and various operational and administrative areas.
During the month of May an IERA Material Inspection (2-6 May), a Cruise Missile Assist Team visit (underway 9-11 May) and Type Training 16-20 May in the Southern California Operating area were among the highlights. The 16-20 May underway period included gunnery exercises for the close-in weapons system, 5-inch guns and 16-inch guns. A historic underway period 23-27 May involved CNO Project Operations OT 2/3: The firing of the Tomahawk missiles. The "first-ever aboard MISSOURI" event on 25 May was viewed by hundreds of crewmen who watched from the flight deck as the successful Tomahawk launching unfolded. In addition, the event was carried "live" on the SITE system, videotaped and an aerial photo of the shoot was reproduced "en masse" for a distribution to the crew. The launch, aimed at preselected targets at the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, was eminently successful.
A Nuclear Weapons Assist Team visit 31 May-3 June helped the crew prepare for a future Nuclear Weapons Acceptance Inspection. Detailed training in security, weapons handling, keyholder and watchstander responsibilities increased experience and understanding in the area of nuclear weapons. A COMNAVSURFPAC 3M Assist visit 6-10 June was held prior to participation in a massive exercise which would be the focus of the crew for nearly two months: "Rim of the Pacific '88."
MISSOURI departed Long Beach 13 June as a participant in Rimpac '88. The exercise was conducted in and around the Hawaii and Southern California operating areas. More than 40 ships, approximately 200 aircraft and more than 50,000 sailors, airmen and Marines from the United States, Japan, Australia and Canada participated in this massive exercise. It marked the first inclusion of a battleship as a component in RIMPAC. Under the overall coordination of Vice Admiral Diego E. Hernandez, Commander, Third Fleet, USS MISSOURI operated under the battle group command of Rear Admiral John F. Shaw, Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group ONE.
The major naval components of the exercise were the USS MISSOURI battleship battle group and the USS NIMITZ carrier battle group. Total U.S. force composition included four cruisers, six destroyers, eleven frigates, four support ships and three amphibious ships. Surface ships from other RIMPAC countries included eight destroyers and one support ship from Japan; one
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