Historical World War II artifact closer to new home in Delaware

It was known as “Big Mo” when it towered over surrendering Japanese forces at the end of World War II in 1945. Now it is a big piece of history about to take up permanent home at Ft. Miles, Delaware.

The 16 inch, 250,000 pound gun barrel was a big part of the USS Missouri. It had been sitting outside Norfolk, Va when Dr. Gary Wray, president of the Ft. Miles Historical Association came up with the idea to bring the gun barrel to Delaware.

The gun barrel made a stop in the center of Georgetown as it awaited the final leg of the journey. On a summer-like day, a quartet played the music of the 40’s as residents and Sussex County leaders came out to remember a piece of history.

“It’s a great piece of history,” said Wray. His group raised more than $120,000 to purchase the gun barrel. Wray said it will be mounted with other gun barrels that line Ft. Miles. Those gun turrets were set up to defend the Delaware coastline during World War II in case of a German attack.

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Delaware and Sussex County tourism officials told the crowd they believe this gun will be a big tourist draw and raise awareness of Cape Henlopen State Park, which incorporates Ft. Miles. “A lot of people outside Delaware know about Ft. Miles,” Wray said. “We want state residents to know about it as well.”

Wray received recognitions from leaders of both Delaware’s House and Senate. But, it was the remembrances of 93 year old Georgetown resident Newt Tyndall, an Army Air Corps Colonel, that wowed the crowd with his story of flying B-29 missions over the deck of the Missouri.

“I’m the proudest of that (his service) of anything I’ve ever done,” Tyndall said. He said that by V-J Day (the end of the war) he had flown 25 missions.

Georgetown is used to a parade every 2 years when it hosts Return Day. That’s the time when rival politicians “bury the hatchet” and join forces. This time the town center was filled with an armed forces parade as people went on to see the big gun on the rail car to its final destination.

A dedication ceremony is set for April 28th at Ft. Miles.

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