Happy birthday to the Battleship New Jersey
America’s most decorated battleship, the New Jersey (BB-62) was launched on Dec. 7, 1942 by the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard; she received her commission the following May as an Iowa class battleship. Here’s a very brief history from a previous post: She became the flag ship for the Fifth Fleet under Admiral Spruance and served throughout World War II, screening carriers in the attack on the Marshall Islands (her first action), and participating in the shelling of Guam and Okinawa as well as the assault on the Marianas (where the Japanese lost some 400 aircraft), according to the history of the ship on its museums website.
She ultimately returned home to Bayonne and was decommissioned in 1948. She was recommissioned in 1950 to serve in the Korean War. She served as mobile artillery and had two tours of Korean waters. After Korea, she served primarily as a training ship in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Mediterranean Sea. She was decommissioned in 1957 and put in reserve in Bayonne. In 1968, she was recommissioned again for service in Vietnam. After her tour, she was decommissioned yet again in 1969, but that was not the end of her service.
After upgrades, including the installation of Tomahawk missiles, she was recommissioned again in 1981, and served in the US intervention in Lebanon in 1983-84, providing the heaviest shore bombardment since the Korean War. She was decommissioned for the final time in 1991, just prior to the Gulf War. She was towed to Philadelphia and refitted for use as a museum.
She took up her current spot on the Camden waterfront in 1999, where she remains, as a museum, to this day. According to the museum’s website, the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial provides an “up-close look at our nation’s military history. Guests of all ages and interests will enjoy their visit to this floating U.S. Navy museum of our nation’s largest battle ships ever built.” After closing because of the pandemic, the museum is back open on weekends with tours available from 11 AM to 3 PM. You can donate to the museum here.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.