VETERANS DAY 101
Shipping Off . . . Military Style
In recognition of Veterans Day (Nov. 1 1), here are three retired military vessels you can tour. Each made history, for widely different reasons. Since 9/11, public access to ship memorials has opened up considerably, but security is still tight; visitors are welcome, but generally not their knapsacks or handbags.
-- Margaret Roth
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
SHIP: Battleship USS Missouri, off Waikiki at Oahu's south shore.
PLACE IN HISTORY: Mighty Mo was the site of Japan's official surrender on the morning of Sept. 2, 1945, in a signing ceremony on Deck 01. The ship went on to serve another 47 years, seeing action in the Korean and Persian Gulf wars.
WHAT'S ABOARD: The claim to fame of this long, lean, Iowa-class battleship is its nine 16-inch guns, which also played a major role in the Gulf War. Each one 65 feet long, the guns can fire a 2,700-pound shell 23 miles in 50 seconds with legendary lethality. A new feature this year is the Truman Line, in the old crew's mess decks, where you can get lunch for $6.50 to $10.
FEE: Admission to its seven decks is $16. Guided tours, some including restricted areas, start at $22; reservations recommended.
WHERE TO STAY: Within 10 minutes of Mighty Mo is the Best Western's full-service, if unexciting, Plaza Hotel (3253 N. Nimitz Hwy., 800-800-4683, http:/
SHIP: Submarine USS Nautilus, moored in the Thames River next to Naval Submarine Base New London.
PLACE IN HISTORY: The Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, has a history of firsts. The sub's launch in 1954 set new standards for speed and distance in undersea warfare, and in 1958, it became the first sub to navigate under the North Pole. It was retired after 25 years in service.
WHAT'S ABOARD: A walk through the Nautilus is a complete tour of submarine life -- from the Torpedo Room to the crew's mess and galley. The close quarters for which submarines are infamous are evident in the crew members' 10 bunks. An adjacent museum traces the development of the "silent service" from the wooden one-man Turtle deployed unsuccessfully in the Revolutionary War to the most modern classes of submarine.