Missouri file photo

USS Missouri

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassIowa-class Battleship
Hull NumberBB-63
BuilderNew York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States
Laid Down6 Jan 1941
Launched29 Jan 1944
Commissioned11 Jun 1944
Decommissioned26 Feb 1955
Displacement45000 tons standard; 57340 tons full
Length887 feet
Beam108 feet
Draft38 feet
Speed33 knots
Crew1921
Armament(1943 Config.) 9x16in Mark 7 guns, 10x5in Mark 12 guns, 80x40mm Bofors AA, 49x20mm Oerliko AA
Armor12.1in belt, 11.3in bulkheads, 11.6-17.3in barbettes, 19.7in turrets, 7.5in decks
Recommissioned10 May 1986
Final Decommission31 Mar 1992

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

Missouri, the last battleship built by the United States, was christened by Senator Harry Truman's daughter Mary Margaret Truman. She held her trials off New York, United States and shakedown cruise in the Chesapeake Bay on the east coast of the United States. On 11 Nov 1944, she set sail from Norfolk, Virginia for San Francisco, California for final fitting via the Panama Canal. Upon completion, she sailed from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor on 14 Dec, arriving 10 days later. On 2 Jan 1945, she departed Hawaii for Ulithi Islands of the Caroline Islands, where she became Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's flagship of Task Force 58.

Missouri's primary guns were nine 16-inch (406-mm)/50 caliber Mark 7 naval guns, capable of sending 2,700-pound shells to a distance of 24 miles. Backing up the main weapons were ten 5-inch (127-mm)/38 caliber Mark 12 naval guns with range of 9 miles. A total of 129 anti-aircraft guns could also be found aboard the battleship, making her a formidable element in an anti-aircraft screen for carriers.

On 27 Jan 1945, Missouri was deployed with the Lexington group of Task Force 58, screening for the carrier as the carrier aircraft bombarded Japanese home islands. Beginning on 19 Feb, alongside of other warships, she provided naval gun support for the Battle of Iwo Jima. Task Force 58 returned to Ulithi on 5 Mar, and after that date Missouri was assigned to the Yorktown group. On 14 Mar, she departed Ulithi with the Yorktown group to conduct air strikes against air and naval facilities on the coast of the Inland Sea and southwestern Honshu, Japan, which began on 18 Mar. During this operation, Missouri's anti-aircraft guns shot down four Japanese aircraft. On 22 Mar, the task force returned to Ulithi. On 24 Mar, Missouri and other warships bombarded the southeast coast of Okinawa in preparation of the invasion. On 1 Apr, she remained in the area during the landing operation to provide naval support. On 11 Apr, she was attacked by a low-flying special attack aircraft, and the anti-aircraft gunners failed to shoot down the attacker. The aircraft crashed into the battleship on the starboard side, just below the main deck level. The starboard wing of the aircraft was thrown far forward, starting a gasoline fire on 5-in Gun Mount No. 3, while the pilot's body was thrown just aft of one of the 40-mm anti-aircraft gun tubs. The damage to the ship was only superficial. Missouri's commander, Captain William M. Callaghan, respectfully provided a sea burial with military honors for the enemy pilot against the recommendation of some of his officers and sailors. At 2305 on 17 Apr 1945, she detected a Japanese submarine 22-km from her location; her report prompted an anti-submarine hunt that eventually sank the submarine I-56. She sailed away from the Okinawa area on 5 May for Ulithi, arriving on 9 May. She immediately sailed to Apra Harbor, Guam, Mariana Islands, arriving 18 May.

In the afternoon of 18 May 1945, Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. of the US Navy 3rd Fleet broke his flag aboard Missouri. She departed Guam on 21 May to conduct bombardment on Okinawa on 27 May, Kyushu, Japan on 8 Jun, and Leyte, Philippine Islands on 13 Jun. On 8 Jul, she sailed with the 3rd Fleet's carriers, screening them as their aircraft struck Honshu and Hokkaido, Japan on 13 and 14 Jul. On 15 Jul, she attacked facilities of the Nihon Steel Company and the Wanishi Ironworks at Muroran, Hokkaido with her guns. During the nights of 17 and 18 Jul, she bombarded various shore targets in Honshu. She remained off Japan, performing bombardment and anti-aircraft screening duties until 9 Aug, the day Nagasaki was hit with the second atomic bomb. Missouri's crew received unofficial word that Japan was about to capitulate at 2054 on 10 Aug 1945. The official surrender announcement for the crew came on 15 Aug. On 16 Aug 1945, Commander of the British Pacific Fleet Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser came on board of the battleship to award Halsey with the Order of the Knight of the British Empire. On 21 Aug, she sent a 200-men party to battleship Iowa for temporary duty with the initial occupation force for Tokyo. In the early morning of 29 Aug, she entered Tokyo Bay.

On 2 Sep 1945, Missouri received high-ranking military officials of Allied nations for the official surrender ceremony. At 0843, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers General of the Army Douglas MacArthur arrived. At 0856, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and other representatives arrived. The surrender ceremony began at 0902 before two American flags; one of them had flown on the mast of Commodore Matthew Perry's ship when she arrived in Edo (now Tokyo) on 8 Jul 1853, and the other was Missouri's mast flag. The ceremony ended at 0930.

In the afternoon of 5 Sep 1945, Halsey transferred his flag to battleship South Dakota, and early the next day Missouri departed Tokyo Bay on a mission to bring American personnel from Guam to Pearl Harbor, as a part of Operation Magic Carpet. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 20 Sep, then reached New York City on 23 Oct 1945. As the flagship of Admiral Jonas Ingram, command of the US Navy Atlantic Fleet, she hosted President Harry Truman for Navy Day ceremonies on 27 Oct. After an overhaul in the New York Navy Yard and a training cruise to Cuba, Missouri received the remains of Turkish Ambassador to the United States Mehmet Munir Ertegun and delivered him to Istanbul, arriving on 5 Apr 1946. She visited Phaleron Bay, Piraeus, Greece between 10 and 26 Apr before returning to the United States. On 13 Dec, while on exercise in the North Atlantic, a star shell accidentally struck the ship, but caused no damage or injuries. On 30 Aug 1947, she arrived at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a symbol of American naval power at the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Hemisphere Peace and Security; on 2 Sep, she hosted President Truman after the signing of the Rio Treaty. On 7 Sep, she brought Truman and his family back to Norfolk, Virginia, United States. She entered New York Navy Yard for an overhaul between 23 Sep 1947 and 10 Mar 1948. Between Mar 1948 and Sep 1949, when she entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for overhaul, she conducted training cruises and participated in exercises. In the morning of 17 Jan 1950, as she exited Norfolk Naval Shipyard after overhaul, she accidentally grounded off Hampton Roads near Old Point Comfort and incurred damage. She was refloated on 1 Feb and repaired shortly after.

During the late 1940s, the United States Navy decommissioned a great number of ships, but Missouri survived the downsizing. It was largely due to Truman, who interfered due to his fondness for the battleship which he had traveled aboard several times and due to the fact that his daughter had christened the battleship.

During the Korean War, Missouri was dispatched on 19 Aug 1950, arriving west of Kyushu on 14 Sep to become the flagship of Rear Admiral A. E. Smith. Alongside of cruiser Helena and two destroyers, she bombarded Samchok on 15 Sep as indirect support for the Inchon landings. Between 10 and 14 Oct, she was the flagship of Rear Admiral J. M. Higgins, commander of Cruiser Division 5. On 14 Oct, at Sasebo, Japan, she became the flagship of Vice Admiral A. D. Struble, commander of the 7th Fleet. She bombarded enemy positions in the Chonjin and Tanchon areas between 22 and 26 Oct, then screened carriers near Wonsan. On 23 Dec, in reaction to the surprising Chinese involvement in the Korean War, Missouri moved off Hungnam to provide gunfire support until the US 3rd Division there could be evacuated by sea over the course of the next two days. She remained near Korea until 19 Mar 1951. She sailed to Yokosuka, Japan on 24 Mar, and by 28 Mar was on her way home.

Missouri arrived at Norfolk, Virginia on 27 Apr and became the flagship of Rear Admiral James L. Holloway, Jr., the commander of the US Navy Atlantic Fleet's Cruiser Force. She conducted two training exercises to northern Europe in the summer of 1951. On 18 Oct 1951, she entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for overhaul that lasted until 30 Jan 1952. She conducted missions in home waters, then entered Norfolk once again for fitting on 4 Aug for a second tour in Korea.

Sailing out of Hampton Roads, Virginia on 11 Sep 1952, Missouri arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on 17 Oct, becoming the flagship of Vice Admiral Joseph J. Clark, commander of the 7th Fleet. On 19 Oct, she provided gunfire support against enemy targets in the Chaho-Tanchon area, Chongjin, and the Tanchon-Sonjin area. Between 25 Oct 1952 and 2 Jan 1953, she attacked enemy positions at Chaho, Wonsan, Hamhung, and Hungnam. On 23 Jan 1953, she hosted United Nations Commander-in-Chief American General Mark W. Clark and British Admiral Sir Guy Russell. In Feb and Mar, she struck against Wonsan, Tanehon, Hungnam, and Kojo on the eastern coast of Korea. After the final gunfire support mission at Kojo on 25 Mar, she sailed for Yokosuka then returned home to Norfolk, arriving 4 May.

At Norfolk, Virginia, Missouri became the flagship of Rear Admiral E. T. Woolridge, commander of the US Navy Atlantic Fleet's battleships and cruisers, on 14 May 1953. She conducted various training exercises between Jun 1953 and Jun 1954, then set sail for California, United States for inactivation. She was decommissioned at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 26 Feb 1955. While inactivated for the next 30 years, she served as a museum ship that hosted 180,000 visitors per year.

In 1984, Missouri was reactivated as President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman pushed for a 600-ship-strong US Navy. She was modernized at Long Beach Naval Yard, which involved the removal of her Oerlikon 20-mm anti-aircraft guns, Bofors 40-mm anti-aircraft guns, and two of the 5-inch gun mounts. In their places, four Phalanx CIWS (close-in weapon system for close-range missile defense), eight armored box launchers (with 32 BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles), and four MK 141 quad cell launchers (with 16 AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles) were installed. For spotters, the propeller planes of the WW2-era and helicopters of the Korean War era were replaced by eight remotely-controlled RQ-2 Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. In addition, state-of-the-art radar and fire control systems were installed. When she was recommissioned on 10 May 1986 at San Francisco, California, she was so advanced that Secretary of Defense Casper W. Weinberger commented that Missouri symbolized the "rebirth of American sea power". The battleship went on an around-the-world cruise, visiting Australia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Panama, becoming the first battleship to circumnavigate the globe in 80 years.

In 1987, she was re-equipped with 40-mm grenade launchers and 25-mm chain guns, and then on 25 Jul 1987 sent to participate in Operation Earnest Will to escort Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf against Iranian threats. She returned to the United States in early 1988 via the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In mid-1988, she exercised in Hawaiian waters with military forces from the United States, Australia, Canada, and Japan. In 1989, she visited Pusan in the Republic of Korea. In 1989 and 1990, she participated in exercises with friendly nations as she had in 1988.

On 2 Aug 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, starting the First Gulf War. American forces were deployed to Saudi Arabia by mid-Aug by President George H. W. Bush's orders, and Missouri departed for Persian Gulf from Pier 6 at Long Beach, California, United States on 13 Nov, reaching Hormuz on 3 Jan 1991. Beginning at 0140 on 17 Jan 1991, she began her role as a missile platform, firing 28 Tomahawk missiles at Iraqi targets over the course of the next five days. On 29 Jan 1991, she bombarded an Iraqi command and control bunker near the Saudi border with her primary weapons, which was the first naval gunfire support operation of the First Gulf War and the first time she fired her 16-inch primary weapons since Mar 1953 during the Korean War. Beginning on the night of 3 Feb, she bombarded Iraqi beach defenses in Kuwait, firing 112 rounds from her primary guns over the next three days until relieved by her sister ship Wisconsin. She fired 60 rounds off Khafji on 11 and 12 Feb, and then another 133 rounds during the landing operations on Kuwaiti beaches on 23 Feb. The latter action was challenged by two Iraqi HY-2 Silkworm missiles; one missed, and the other was intercepted by GWS-30 Sea Dart missiles launched by British air defense destroyer Gloucester. On 25 Feb 1991, she was damaged in a friendly fire incident where American frigate Jarrett's Phalanx weapon damaged Missouri. Combat operations in Iraq exceeded the range of her primary guns by 26 Feb, so on 21 Mar she sailed for home.

On 7 Dec 1991, the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, she hosted President Bush during the remembrance ceremony. On 31 Mar 1992, she was decommissioned at Long Beach, California, United States. Her last commanding officer, Captain Albert L. Kaiss, wrote this note in the ship's final Plan of the Day:

Our final day has arrived. Today the final chapter in battleship Missouri's history will be written. It's often said that the crew makes the command. There is no truer statement... for it's the crew of this great ship that made this a great command. You are a special breed of sailors and Marines and I am proud to have served with each and every one of you. To you who have made the painful journey of putting this great lady to sleep, I thank you. For you have had the toughest job. To put away a ship that has become as much a part of you as you are to her is a sad ending to a great tour. But take solace in this—you have lived up to the history of the ship and those who sailed her before us. We took her to war, performed magnificently and added another chapter in her history, standing side by side our forerunners in true naval tradition. God bless you all.

Missouri remained part of the reserve fleet at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, United States until 12 Jan 1995, when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. On 4 May 1998, Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton signed the donation contract that transferred the historic battleship to the nonprofit USS Missouri Memorial Association of Honolulu, Hawaii, setting the course for her to become a museum ship. She was towed to Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, reaching the destination on 22 Jun 1998. On 29 Jan 1999, she was opened as a museum ship that symbolized the end of WW2 in Asia and the Pacific; she was 500 yards from the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, which symbolized the start of the Pacific War.

Source: Wikipedia.

Battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) Interactive Map

USS Missouri Operational Timeline

6 Jan 1941 The keel of battleship Missouri was laid down.
29 Jan 1944 Battleship Missouri was launched, sponsored by Mary Magaret Truman, daughter of Senator Harry Truman.
11 Jun 1944 Missouri was commissioned into service.
14 Dec 1944 USS Missouri departed Norfolk, Virginia, United States.
24 Dec 1944 USS Missouri arrived at San Francisco, California, United States.
2 Jan 1945 USS Missouri departed US Territory of Hawaii for Ulithi, Caroline Islands.
19 Feb 1945 USS Missouri bombarded Iwo Jima, Japan.
5 Mar 1945 USS Missouri arrived at Ulithi, Caroline Islands.
14 Mar 1945 USS Missouri departed Ulithi, Caroline Islands.
18 Mar 1945 USS Missouri escorted carriers while the aircraft aircraft struck Japan.
22 Mar 1945 USS Missouri arrived at Ulithi, Caroline Islands.
24 Mar 1945 USS Missouri bombarded Okinawa, Japan.
1 Apr 1945 USS Missouri covered the landings at Okinawa, Japan.
11 Apr 1945 A Japanese special attack aircraft crashed into the starboard side of USS Missouri, causing minor damage. The remains of the Japanese pilot was given a sea burial with military honors.
5 May 1945 USS Missouri departed Okinawa, Japan.
9 May 1945 USS Missouri arrived at Ulithi, Caroline Islands.
18 May 1945 USS Missouri arrived at Apra Harbor, Guam, Mariana Islands. In the afternoon, she became the flagship of Admiral William Halsey of the US Navy 3rd Fleet.
21 May 1945 USS Missouri departed Guam, Mariana Islands.
27 May 1945 USS Missouri bombarded Japanese positions on Okinawa, Japan.
8 Jun 1945 USS Missouri bombarded Kyushu, Japan.
13 Jun 1945 USS Missouri bombarded Japanese positions on Luzon, Philippine Islands.
8 Jul 1945 USS Missouri set sail as an escort for carriers.
13 Jul 1945 USS Missouri escorted carriers while the aircraft struck Japan.
14 Jul 1945 USS Missouri escorted carriers while the aircraft struck Japan.
16 Aug 1945 British Admiral Bruce Fraser visited USS Missouri.
21 Aug 1945 USS Missouri dispatched a 200-men party to USS Iowa for temporary duty with the initial occupation force for Tokyo, Japan.
29 Aug 1945 USS Missouri entered Tokyo Bay, Japan.
2 Sep 1945 USS Missouri hosted the official ceremony during which Japan surrendered to the Allies.
5 Sep 1945 USS Missouri was relieved of duty as Admiral William Halsey's flagship.
6 Sep 1945 USS Missouri departed Tokyo Bay, Japan.
20 Sep 1945 USS Missouri arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
23 Oct 1945 USS Missouri arrived at New York, New York, United States.
27 Oct 1945 USS Missouri hosted US President Harry Truman for the annual Navy Day ceremonies at New York, New York, United States.
22 Mar 1946 USS Missouri departed the United States with the remains of Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Munir Ertegun.
5 Apr 1946 USS Missouri arrived at Istanbul, Turkey with the remains of Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Munir Ertegun.
10 Apr 1946 USS Missouri arrived at Piraeus, Greece.
26 Apr 1946 USS Missouri departed Piraeus, Greece.
13 Dec 1946 A star shell accidentally struck USS Missouri during an exercise in the North Atlantic, causing no damage nor injuries.
30 Aug 1947 USS Missouri arrived at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
2 Sep 1947 US President Harry Truman embarked USS Missouri at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
7 Sep 1947 USS Missouri arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, United States, disembarking US President Harry Truman.
23 Sep 1947 USS Missouri entered New York Naval Shipyard in New York, United States for a scheduled overhaul.
10 Mar 1948 USS Missouri completed her scheduled overhaul at New York Naval Shipyard in New York, United States.
17 Jan 1950 USS Missouri accidentally grounded off Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States.
1 Feb 1950 USS Missouri was refloated; she had accidentally grounded off Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States on 17 Jan 1950.
19 Aug 1950 USS Missouri set sail for Korea.
14 Sep 1950 USS Missouri arrived off Kyushu, Japan and became the flagship of Rear Admiral A. E. Smith.
15 Sep 1950 USS Missouri bombarded communist positions at Samchok, Korea.
10 Oct 1950 USS Missouri became the flagship of Rear Admiral Admiral J. M. Higgins of Cruiser Division 5.
14 Oct 1950 USS Missouri was relieved of the duty of being the flagship of Rear Admiral Admiral J. M. Higgins of Cruiser Division 5.
22 Oct 1950 USS Missouri began bombarding communist positions in the Chongjin-Tanchon area, Korea.
26 Oct 1950 USS Missouri ended bombarding communist positions in the Chongjin-Tanchon area, Korea.
23 Dec 1950 USS Missouri provided gunfire support during the evacuation of US troops at Hungnam, Korea.
19 Mar 1951 USS Missouri departed Korea.
24 Mar 1951 USS Missouri arrived at Yokohama, Japan.
28 Mar 1951 USS Missouri departed Yokohama, Japan.
27 Apr 1951 USS Missouri arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, United States.
18 Oct 1951 USS Missouri entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia, United States for a scheduled overhaul.
30 Mar 1952 USS Missouri completed her scheduled overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia, United States.
4 Aug 1952 USS Missouri entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia, United States for refitting.
11 Sep 1952 USS Missouri departed Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States.
17 Oct 1952 USS Missouri arrived at Yokosuka, Japan and became the flagship of Vice Admiral Joseph J. Clark of the US Navy 7th Fleet.
19 Oct 1952 USS Missouri provided gunfire support in the Tanchon area in Korea.
23 Jan 1953 USS Missouri hosted a meeting between US General Mark Clark and British Admiral Guy Russell.
25 Mar 1953 USS Missouri bombarded Koja, Korea, which was her final gunfire support mission in Korea.
4 May 1953 USS Missouri arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, United States.
14 May 1953 USS Missouri became the flagship of Rear Admiral E. T. Woolridge.
26 Feb 1955 Missouri was decommissioned from service.
10 May 1986 USS Missouri was recommissioned into service at San Francisco, California, United States.
25 Jul 1987 USS Missouri departed for Persian Gulf.
13 Nov 1990 USS Missouri departed Long Beach, California, United States for the Middle East.
3 Jan 1991 USS Missouri arrived at the Strait of Hormuz off Iran.
17 Jan 1991 USS Missouri began firing Tomahawk missles at Iraqi targets over the next five days.
29 Jan 1991 USS Missouri bombarded Iraqi positions near the Iraqi-Saudi border.
3 Feb 1991 USS Missouri bombarded Iraqi positions in Kuwait.
11 Feb 1991 USS Missouri bombarded Iraqi positions in Kuwait.
12 Feb 1991 USS Missouri bombarded Iraqi positions in Kuwait.
23 Feb 1991 USS Missouri bombarded Iraqi positions in Kuwait.
25 Feb 1991 USS Missouri was accidentally damaged by USS Jarrett.
21 Mar 1991 USS Missouri departed Persian Gulf.
7 Dec 1991 USS Missouri hosted US President George Bush for a remembrance ceremony on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
31 Mar 1992 USS Missouri was decommissioned at Long Beach, California, United States.
12 Jan 1995 Battleship Missouri was struck from the US Naval Register.
4 May 1998 Battleship Missouri was transferred to the USS Missouri Memorial Association.
22 Jun 1998 Battleship Missouri arrived at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States under tow.
29 Jan 1999 Museum ship Missouri was opened to visitors.

Photographs

OS2U Kingfisher scout plane being recovered aboard the battleship USS Missouri, 1944-45Crew of battleship Missouri performing abandon ship drills, summer 1944; note OS2N-1 Kingfisher aircraft in background on port side catapultAlaska maneuvered in front of Missouri during their shakedown cruises, circa Aug 1944Alaska, seen from battleship Missouri, summer 1944
See all 63 photographs of Battleship USS Missouri (BB-63)



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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Anonymous says:
    4 Jan 2012 02:54:22 PM

    I loved this ship! I was a Sea Cadet helping with public tours when she was first pulled out of mothballs, before her refitting in Long Beach, Ca. 1984

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More on USS Missouri
Personnel:
» William Halsey
» Marc Mitscher

Event(s) Participated:
» Battle of Iwo Jima
» Okinawa Campaign
» Preparations for Invasion of Japan
» Japan's Surrender


Battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) Photo Gallery
OS2U Kingfisher scout plane being recovered aboard the battleship USS Missouri, 1944-45
See all 63 photographs of Battleship USS Missouri (BB-63)



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