WWII 'Mighty Mo' battleship undergoing $18M preservation

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HONOLULU – Mike Weidenbach has walked across the historic teakwood decks and through the metal hallways of the USS Missouri countless times in the past decade. But he recently realized how massive the aging battleship is from a new perspective — underneath.

"I touched the bottom of the ship," gushed Weidenbach, curator of the iconic World War II vessel that now serves as a memorial and museum.

The "Mighty Mo" — the last battleship built by the United States — is spending three months in dry dock at Pearl Harbor undergoing $18 million in maintenance and preservation.

"I want it to be here forever," Weidenbach said Thursday. "I want to die knowing we took care of the ship the best we were able.

"For me as curator, this is our primary artifact, so it's not like a normal Navy ship that has a life span of decades," he said. "This is supposed to be like the U.S. Constitution. It's supposed to be hundreds of years."

Weidenbach visited the ship at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and said it was challenging to capture the size and scope of the 887-foot vessel in a photograph.

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