Big guns were a big part of World War II. There were big guns placed along the Delaware beaches to defend the home front.
There was also a gun known as Big Mo’ that towered over surrendering Japanese forces about the U.S.S Missouri. Now, the two pieces of history will be connected at Ft. Miles.
The brain child of the Ft. Miles Historical Association was dedicated Saturday. State leaders called it a big piece of U.S. history and a big boom to state tourism.
The statistics of the gun are impressive. The gun barrel is 16”. It is 66 feet long, weighs 116 tons, and can shoot 2,700 pound shells more than 23 miles in 50 seconds.
State leaders and members of Delaware’s Congressional delegation were a part of the dedication ceremony. They all agreed that this piece of history will make Ft. Milesa tourist destination point. “We’re honored to have this historic gun here in Delaware,” said Governor Jack Markell. “Delaware is honored to be the new home of this significant piece of American history,” said Senator Thomas Carper.
The gun barrel was destined for the scrap heap, sitting in a storage facility in Norfolk, Va. The historical association was able to raise $113,000 to bring the piece of history to Delaware. It took a combination of barges and trains to get the gun barrel here.
The Fort Miles Historical Association has big plans for the gun barrel. “The barrel will become the centerpiece to our Fort Miles Museum which, when completed will be the best World War II museum inside a WWII facility in the United States,” said Dr. Gary Wray, president of the FMHA.
There have been several improvements made to the park area. A playground has been added along with six cabins. They replace six tent camping sites currently in place for people to use.
The U.S.S. Missouri was first commissioned around the time of D-Day in June 1944. DNREC Secretary Colin O’Mara formalized the dedication of the gun barrel’s second life and its place in history. Several World War II vets and descendants of other WWII vets attended the dedication ceremony.