Hundreds of banner-carrying well-wishers greeted the battleship Missouri on Tuesday as it returned to its home port in Long Beach under blue skies after a six-month cruise in the northern Arabian Sea.
As the 887-foot, 58,000-ton ship steamed into the harbor, hundreds of family members gathered at Pier 6 broke out in cheers, waving signs with such salutations as "Welcome Home, Daddy."
In fact, 31 of the 66 officers and 1,538 enlisted men on board had become new fathers during the tour of duty. The men, whose wives and babies had been waiting at the pier for several hours, were scheduled to depart the ship first.
The Navy Band from San Diego and the Bellflower High School Band provided a musical homecoming for the "Mighty Mo." It was on the deck of the Missouri that the Japanese surrender was signed, bringing an official end to World War II.