Donn McKinney never served aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, but has had a soft spot for the historic battleship since he was a child. McKinney’s dream is to see the ship in action, and how the vessel served its country from World War II to Operation Desert Storm. With the help of SolidWorks ® software, a 30+ year dream may soon become a reality.

McKinney is part of a team engaged in producing operational replicas of the Iowa Class Battleships U.S.S. Iowa, U.S.S. New Jersey, U.S.S. Missouri and U.S.S. Wisconsin. The goal of the project is to put these operational ships on display for the education and enjoyment of the general public in various locales.

“Battleships like the Missouri bring waves of emotion to people. Seeing these floating parts of history conjures memories of sadness, joy and wonder,” said McKinney. “My goal is to bring living history to those people and cities who feel connected to these now almost mythical battle ships.”

The U.S.S. Missouri was commissioned on June 11, 1944, and assigned to the Pacific Third Fleet that steamed into Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1944. The U.S.S. Missouri was part of the force that carried out bombing raids over Tokyo and provided firepower in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The Missouri secured its place in history as the site of Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces on Sept. 2, 1945, ending World War II. With updates through the years, the historic ship also served its country in the Korean War and Operation Desert Storm.

Through advancements in SolidWorks CAD software, McKinney has seen his project evolve from an 18-foot wooden ship, to an 18-foot steel ship. More recently, the latest rendition of the project is a 28-foot replica that features the ship’s complete functionality including radar and fully operational scaled weapons. McKinney is also working to add a system that will allow presenters to give full military orders to the vessel and receive an immediate response.

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