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Navy vet Ed Carter instrumental in bringing ‘Mighty Mo’ to Hawaii


    World War II veteran Ed Carter helped spearhead efforts to move the iconic World War II warship USS Missouri to Hawaii, bringing the 887-foot battlewagon to Pearl Harbor in 1998 and turning it into a nonprofit museum.

One of the recollections about the battleship USS Missouri’s move to Hawaii involves Navy men Ed Carter, Ron Hays and Harold Estes getting together at lunch and cooking up the idea to bring the iconic World War II warship here.

The “Mighty Mo,” the site of Japan’s surrender in Tokyo Bay, had been decommissioned in 1992.

Bremerton, Wash., and San Francisco were among cities that also wanted it.

Carter put together a board that created a detailed business plan, and after four years of effort, the donation agreement was signed for the 887-foot battlewagon to become a nonprofit museum in Pearl Harbor, said Michael A. Carr, the USS Missouri Memorial Association’s president and CEO.

Carter was among those who “understood the symbolism of having the Missouri here bow-to-bow with the (USS) Arizona, and the incredible story that would tell,” Carr said.

Carter, 92, died on April 4. He lived at Kahala Nui.

A biography provided by the Missouri said Carter, Hayes and Estes were the three founding board members of the Missouri’s nonprofit association.

This Friday marks the 20th anniversary of the May 4, 1998, Navy transfer of the battleship to the group.

“That same month, the association began towing the Mighty Mo to Honolulu,” the museum said. “The USS Missouri entered Pearl Harbor on June 22, 1998, and was berthed at Pier Foxtrot-5 on Battleship Row.”

Carter served as the association’s board chairman for many years, and after retiring from the board, was given the title of chairman emeritus.

Born in Los Angeles, Carter joined the Navy right after graduating from high school in 1943 and was commissioned an ensign two years later at 19, serving during World War II. He later began a long career in finance and accounting.

He moved to Hawaii in 1971 with a position as executive vice president of Dillingham Corp. He also served as chairman of Bishop Museum and Aloha United Way, and president of the Honolulu Rotary Club.

Carter had come to Honolulu with his wife, Shirley. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2015.

“I never envisioned 70 years,” Ed Carter said at the time. “I keep telling people it shows how easy I am to get along with, but Shirley’s got a different version. It’s been great. Seventy years have gone by in a hurry.”

No public service is planned. A private interment is planned for the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

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Star-Advertiser reporter Nina Wu contributed to this report.

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