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Five-0 Redux

Behind the scenes on the Mighty Mo

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In every opening of any “Hawaii Five-0” episode, there are always several fabulous shots of beautiful O‘ahu, but I’d have to say that in the “Pilot” episode the one that stood out the most to me was the scene with McGarrett and Governor Jameson and the majestic “Mighty Mo,” the USS Missouri.

Screen cap of “Ho‘apono” from http://sc.aithine.org

There behind McGarrett and his future nemesis Governor Jameson, is the majestic USS Missouri in all her glory. Most of us call her the “Mighty Mo” and after spending several hours touring her decks and spaces not normally seen by the general public with Encampment Coordinator and Educational Programs Assistant, Neil Yamamoto, I came to see her as more than just a historical landmark. Neil is not only a master Missouri storyteller, he is a great “Hawaii Five-0” fan, and has joined us for several “Five-0 Tweetups” at Big City Diner. He was kind enough to agree to show me his beautiful ship and give me a sneak peek into how the “Hawaii Five-0” actors and crew utilized this unique shooting location.

Neil Yamamoto. —Photo by FL Morris / fmorris@staradvertiser.com
Neil and Wendie in front of the 16-inch guns on the Mighty Mo.

As the wife of a career Chief Petty Officer, who retired on the Mighty Mo’s fantail and also reenlisted three times on the surrender deck during his 26 years with the US Navy, I am familiar with her 16-inch guns and her heroic duty, but this was an extra special treat, not only as a Five-0 fan, but also for my husband, Patrick. He can mark many milestones of his career on the Missouri, but it was also special because the first sea tour he took when he joined the Navy in the mid-80s was aboard her sister ship, the USS New Jersey. Patrick was dying to see parts of the ship that he had not been able to see since the ship opened and because of the Chief Petty Officer Legacy Center & Academy. Neil was more than happy to oblige Chief’s love of his battleship and showed us more than we could have hoped for. And he told us amazing stories—almost too many to regale you with here, you’ll need to visit the Missouri yourself to get the complete picture—but I’ll try and give you a taste. In this blog, I’ll detail the Missouri shooting areas that Neil showed us and next week I’ll show you a few of the other spots where the Five-0 crew shot scenes, as well as a few hidden gems, on historic Ford Island.

The USS Missouri BB-63.

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  • wow! this took alot of work well done as usual. got me some history lesson. i thought YOU were on hiatus! (:  thanks that is really cool how they shot the scenes and of course the historical value is overwhelming. lucky girl you deserve it. nice trip! very nice of him to show you around. loved that episode too was one of my top five!  good job wendie

  • u rocked it! wow what an adventure. he was very generous to show you and bug around! nice start to your vacation. nice nice write up. interesting shots of where our mcg did his aquaman stuff. and a great history lesson! thank you wendie your tops! — joey

  • Awsome pictures and backstory.  It is always “enlightening” to find out that many of the things we see or hear in TV or movies really can’t happen in real life.  That’s why it’s called fiction right?  I laugh when I see movies that depict pilot and gunner in a bi-plane talking.  I took a scenic tour in a bi-plane when I was in Middle School with a friend of mine.  We couldn’t hear each other talk and we were sitting in the SAME seat.  There would NO way to talk to the pilot from the front/gunners seat.  Makes for good TV/movies.  I think that the bunks on a submarine would be the only that qualified as more crouded that the ones onthe Missouri. LOL  I hope I can make it to Hawaii some time, I would love to take a tour of the Missouri now that I have seen and heard about yours.  Mahalo.

  • Awsome pictures and backstory.  It is always “enlightening” to find out that many of the things we see or hear in TV or movies really can’t happen in real life.  That’s why it’s called fiction right?  I laugh when I see movies that depict pilot and gunner in a bi-plane talking.  I took a scenic tour in a bi-plane when I was in Middle School with a friend of mine.  We couldn’t hear each other talk and we were sitting in the SAME seat.  There would NO way to talk to the pilot from the front/gunners seat.  Makes for good TV/movies.  I think that the bunks on a submarine would be the only that qualified as more crouded that the ones onthe Missouri. LOL  I hope I can make it to Hawaii some time, I would love to take a tour of the Missouri now that I have seen and heard about yours.  Mahalo.

  • Wendie,
    You have really nailed your tour of Mighty Mo. Even on your vacation time, you are keeping us posted on really interesting backstories of Five0. As Navy retired myself I can relate to your husband’s service and thank him for that. I was able to tour the USS Iowa when it was in commission. Many of your photos were similar to the Iowa since I was able to tour everything. The neat add on that you have provided is not only the spaces on the ship that are not normally open to the public, but the descriptions of where various scenes were filmed.  I did not take any photos of the Iowa, so those are just memories.
    Paul

  • Mahalo, Wendie – during the Korean War, the first ship in which I served, in 1951, was USS Wisconsin (BB-64), Missouri’s sister ship. Almost served in Missouri, but was transferred to USS Helena, instead. We all shelled the ChiComs.
    The next 24 years were spent in submarines. Had to get off those ‘targets’ (grin). Those BB bunks were spacious, in comparison to diesel boat bunks – compare them next door on USS Bowfin! ! Mighty Mo looks great – that recent visit to PHNSY really spruced her up. Great article.

  • Wonderful blog, Wendie! Thanks so much for the trip down Memory Lane for me, as I toured the Mighty Mo in 2000 when I was in Hawaii.  What an awesome piece of American history! Enjoyed learning about the places on the ship that 5-0 filmed at!

  • Wendie,
    Another great post plus all the photos were outstanding. Thanks for spending part of your vacation giving us some valuable background info on the locations. During my Navy career, I had a chance to tour the USS Iowa while it was still in commision. Your photos have captured a true sense of the greatness of our battleships.
    Paul
     

  • Hi Wendie, awesome blog. I really enjoyed seeing more of the “Five-0” points of intrest while visiting the Missouri. I just re-watched that episode the other day of realized that I should hanve watched it before I went to Hawaii and not after so I could make sure to looke for all the key spots. Some of them I did remember like the Ward Room and did take a few pics in there but now thanks to your blog, I got to experience them all. Love the pictures too.
    Thanks again

  • Thanks for another great article. Tell Chief…thanks for his service. I may have ran into him before in my time in Pearl Harbor. I have served with lots of great guys (and gals) during my short 6 years.

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