USS Mississippi Visits Okinawa

In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in the Far East to open up relations with Japan. His first flagship was USS Mississippi, a side-wheel steamer. Before going to Tokyo, Perry stopped at Okinawa to deal with the Okinawan king regarding coaling and trading rights. Perry landed and went to Shuri Castle, the king’s residence on a promontory overlooking most of the island.

In 1862 Mississippi was part of the fleet that took New Orleans. During the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip she ran down the Confederate ironclad CSS Manassas. In 1863 she ran aground near Port Hudson and sank into her namesake river.  

In 1945 Americans again returned to Okinawa, invading the island as part of the final campaigns to isolate Japan and set the stage for possible invasion of the home islands. U.S. Army and Marine units battled southward against tenacious Japanese defenders. Shuri Castle and the immediate area was a key strongpoint, one that resisted repeated attacks over several weeks.

U.S. Marines finally entered Shuri Castle on May 27, 1945. It’s capture marked a key turning point in the battle. The castle itself was a wreck from the ship providing support fire – USS Mississippi (BB-41).

Top: Mississippi and Manassas fight downstream of New Orleans.

Bottom: Mississippi (foreground) supports landings in the Philippines, January 1945. 

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