USS Missouri Gun Barrel Leaving Town

Gun barrel on its way to Cape Charles last year. (USFWS photo)

Gun barrel on its way to Cape Charles last year. (USFWS photo)

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

March 28, 2013

The USS Missouri gun barrel is leaving town, moving April 1 to the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge in Kiptopeke.

The barrel has sat in the Bay Coast Rail Yard in Cape Charles for the past year. It will depart the rail yard about 9:30 a.m. Monday and will take about two hours to travel the 12-mile route on Highway 13.

Once at the refuge, the barrel will be restored and put on permanent display.

The 16”/50 Caliber Mark VII gun barrel (#393) was on the USS Missouri at the time of the signing of the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.

The barrel weighs 120 tons and is similar to the barrel which was in the bunker at the former Fort John Custis, now part of the Wildlife Refuge.


The barrel’s journey to the Eastern Shore of Virginia began one year ago, when it left St. Julien’s Creek Navy Yard and was loaded on a rail car in Little Creek and transported to Cape Charles on the Bay Coast Rail Barge. It arrived in Cape Charles on April 3, 2012, where it has been waiting to complete the trip to the refuge.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for May 25 at 2 p.m. to celebrate the return of this piece of history to the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge.



One Response to “USS Missouri Gun Barrel Leaving Town”

  1. Melvin W. Williams, Jr. CWO, USCG (Ret) on April 5th, 2013 3:21 am

    How about bringing back one of those old ferry boats and set it up for a monument, because the history of the ferry system for the Eastern Shore IS just as important as this battleship’s gun. The ferries transported many of the military personnel and equipment to and from the war. See the Cape May County News old article about the late Mr. Melvin W. Williams’ (U.S Coast Guard) experience aboard these vessels during the war. The gun? A waste of $$.