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    Description

    Tokyo Bay Surrender Ship Flag.

    USS Missouri(BB-653) - "The Mighty Mo" Ensign.
    USS Missouri (BB-63) ("Mighty Mo") is an Iowa-class battleship, commissioned in June of 1944, best remembered as the ship on which the formal surrender of the Empire of Japan occurred, thus ending the hostilities of the Second World War. She was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named after the U.S. state of Missouri, "The Show Me" state and the home of the then-President Harry Truman. Missouri was the last battleship commissioned by the United States Navy.

    This ensign is called the "Nimitz Flag" because of the inscription "C W Nimitz" on the obverse hoist of the flag. The original collector, Dr. Clarence Rungee, a personal friend of Admiral Nimitz, exhibited this flag as the one that flew on the mainmast of the Missouri on 2 September 1945 and it is therefore likely that this is an ensign that was aboard the Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945, most likely re-hoisted after the actual ceremony.

    The Missouri's ensign from the ceremony is at the Unites States Naval Academy Museum. The Missouri's skipper, Captain Stuart S. Murry (later a vice admiral and inspector general of the U.S. Navy) recounted in a 1974 interview: "At eight o'clock we had hoisted a clean set of colors at the mainmast and a clean Union Jack at the bow as we were at anchor, and I would like to add that these were just regular ship's flags, GI issue, that we'd pulled out of the spares, nothing special about them, and they had never been used anywhere so far as we know,..." and "They were both turned into the Naval Academy Museum...[October of 1945]."

    This Missouri ensign is also government issue, 48-star, U.S. wool bunting, double appliqué stars and sewn stripes finished with a roped canvas header with a top ring and a bottom lead-line and snap. It is marked on the obverse hoist, "US ENSIGN 7" and "Missouri" and the aforementioned Nimitz inscription.

    The Mighty Mo joined the war effort in late 1944, arriving at Pearl harbor on Christmas Eve 1944. She sortied with the fast attack carrier Lexington, who mounted the first aerial attacks against the Japanese homeland since the Doolittle Raid of 1942. Next, she steamed to Iwo Jima where her massive 16-inch guns provided continuous support for the Marines landing on that strategic island. After Iwo Jima, she again screened fast attack carriers of the Yorktown group, helped cover the withdrawal of the damaged carrier Franklin and bombarded the coast of Okinawa. During the Okinawa campaign, she was struck by a kamikaze and, although the damage was minimal and a small fire quickly extinguished, the remains of the Japanese aviator were recovered and given a burial at sea with full military honors. The impact dent is still visible on the Missouri's starboard side. She next served as Admiral Halsey's flag ship for attacks in Japanese home waters where she both screened carriers and bombarded airfields and industrial complexes.

    After the atomic bombings compelled the Japanese to surrender, the Missouri, at President Truman's insistence, was selected to receive the Japanese delegation. She entered Tokyo Bay on 29 August 1945 to make meticulous preparations for the ceremony, after which she sailed for the Atlantic. This flag is one of the few known Missouri ensigns in private hands and, as such, would be a fabulous addition to a WWII, US Navy, Surrender and USS Missouri collection.

    The WWII awards of the USS Missouri Include: Combat Action Ribbon; Navy Unit Commendation; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; Navy E Ribbon with Wreathed Battle E device; China Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three campaign stars; World War II Victory Medal and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.

    The ensign of the Missouri is in Good Condition - used, worn and soiled. It is starting to fry at the fly corners. It is known that Dr. Rungee was Admiral Nimitz's guest at the ceremonies marking the first anniversary of the surrender held when the Missouri was visiting Boston on 2 September 1946 and it is thought that is when he acquired this flag.

    Provenance: US Navy; Admiral Chester Nimitz.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection and a categorization of the collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,591

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