Vale, Capt. Kaiss
Capt. Albert L. Kaiss, in effect the last dreadnought skipper in any Navy, had five afloat commands including the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster (DD-964), the cruiser USS William H. Standley (CG-32), and the battleship Missouri— the latter, twice.
Kaiss recommissioned “Mighty Mo” as her 20th skipper in 1986 then left her in the hands of Capt. James Carney as he went on to command the hospital ship USNS Mercy.
Carney later subsequently handed over command of Missouri to Capt. John Chernesky in 1988.
Kaiss returned to Missouri on 13 June 1990 and took her to war for one final time as her 23rd commander. Kaiss steamed the battleship to the Persian Gulf from the West Coast, arriving 3 January 1991, and remaining until 21 March.
“We fired 783 16-inch salvos and 28 Tomahawk missiles at the Iraqis,” said Kaiss, then 51, on the eve of her decommissioning. “I’m proud of every sailor who served with me during the Persian Gulf War. We came home with the same number of people we left with, and none of our personnel was injured,” he noted. “Now we’re part of the history of this great ship.”
Kaiss, the last sailor to leave the ship on 31 March 1992, retired alongside her a few months later, a feat which led him to be described by the U.S. Navy Memorial as the last battleship sailor.