Operation Crush COVID Week 6: 2 September 1945 – “VJ Day”

Seventy-five years ago today, the nation of Japan formally surrendered to Allied forces, officially ending World War II. We’ll be marking the anniversary with three events:

  • 8:15 AM – A live feed of a special ceremony hosted by our sister ship, USS MISSOURI, where the signing took place. (Time approximate.)
  • 12:30 PM – A flyover by the Commemorative Air Force. (Time approximate.)
  • 1:30 PM – A salute from USS IOWA’s Mount 56 5″ battery.

To lead off the commemoration from Battleship IOWA Museum, president and CEO Jonathan Williams shares his special personal connection to “VJ Day” in this video.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgWX1GmIMOQ[/embedyt]

USS Iowa On VJ Day

From Battleship IOWA Museum’s official USS Iowa timeline:

Sept 2, 1945 – At anchor in Tokyo Bay, Japan, anchored about one half mile off Missouri.

0908 Formal surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay, VJ Day, on board sister ship Missouri.  Iowa is one of the official communications ships for the surrender ceremony. Japan formally surrenders to the Supreme Commander Allied Powers, General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur. The instrument of surrender is signed by Foreign Minister Shigemitsu on behalf of Emperor Hirohito and General Umeza for the Japanese Imperial General Staff and by Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, followed by representatives of China, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Australia, Canada, France, The Netherlands, and New Zealand.

Admiral W. F. Halsey’s flag (ComThirdFleet) is broken on Iowa while Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz’s flag is broken on Missouri. CTF 32 (ComThirdPhibForce, Vice Admiral Wilkinson) arrives in Tokyo Bay and berths near Yokohama to disembark the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division and 112th Regimental Combat Team.

Iowa (BB-61) provides quarters, communication facilities, and transportation as required for war correspondents and radio broadcasters. The war correspondents represent the major U.S. newspapers and news services, plus those of the United Kingdom and China. News is transmitted to Guam and the U.S. by a high frequency tele-type unit in Iowa until 30 August. After this date this service is performed by the Amphibious Force Command ship USS Ancon, AGC-4, with Iowa handling traffic overflow. (On the morning of August 29th, Ancon sailed into Tokyo Bay and assumed duties as a press release ship in coordination with battleship Iowa.)

From Iowa‘s anchorage between Missouri (BB 63) and South Dakota (BB 57), her crew witnessed the official Japanese surrender.

Radio commentators of all principal U.S. networks broadcast from a unit aboard directly to San Francisco and via Guam. When radio broadcast is impractical, this unit makes spot recordings of news which is flown to Guam for rebroadcast. In addition, a radio photo unit is installed aboard and serves to transmit instantaneously news photographs directly to U.S. and via Guam. These pictures are commonly called wirephotos.

Up to this point, USS IOWA has steamed over 190,000 miles. For her service in World War II, she earns nine battle stars. 

Battleship IOWA’s present day crew has enormous respect for her past. As we walk her decks daily, we are aware that our feet are treading the paths of giants. We may take that privilege for granted at times, but it rarely strays too far from our thoughts.

We know we’re lucky to be where we are; that we bear a distinct responsibility to treat this vessel well and do our utmost to ensure she remains proud and strong for generations to come.

As we look today at pictures of an event that took place seventy-five years ago, we are reminded that we are rapidly losing those who witnessed that incredible moment in person. Too soon, they all will be gone… but with your help, Battleship IOWA can still be with us – a living, tangible reminder greater than a photo. Such reminders are what bring our past to life and allow us to connect with it. Connection creates understanding, and understanding gives us the chance to learn from history instead of repeat it.

Please support Operation Crush COVID today. How about a donation of $75 in honor of the 75th anniversary, or maybe $45 as a nod to the year? Get creative and go for $19.45! Anything you can give is much appreciated. Thank you.

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