Philadelphia, PA - 2-6 September 2013
USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62) TOUR
The USS New Jersey is berthed in Camden, NJ, across the Delaware River from Philly. BB62 was built at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, and launched 7 December 1942- just a year after the Pearl Harbor Attack brought America into WWII. NEW JERSEY was decommissioned on 8 February 1991 in Long Beach, California and later towed to Bremerton, Washington where she resided until heading home to New Jersey. She was officially stricken from the Navy list on 12 February 1995 but was then ordered reinstated by an order of congress as a mobilization asset under Bill 1024 section 1011. On 4 January 1999 NEW JERSEY was again stricken from the Navy list and IOWA replaced her as a mobilization asset. On 12 September, 1999 NEW JERSEY began her Final Voyage home from Bremerton, where she had rested in mothballs for the last 8 years. On 11 November, she arrived at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Since that time, she has been restored, opened and established as an educational museum and a tribute to the brave sailors who served on her during her long and distinguished career. The Battleship New Jersey opened as a Museum and Memorial in October 2001. She still has 16" and 5"/38 gun batteries as well as Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles.
We were ecorted in three groups each led by a ship's official guide. Her enlisted berthing and mess spaces are luxurious when compared to the Picking's. We were not able to visit the engineering spaces but pretty much the rest of the ship was open.
Panorama shot of the New Jersey and our shipmates and families getting briefed by official guides
Panorama looking forward from the bridge (Philly on the left, Camden on the right)
After the tour we had lunch of Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches on the fantail where we entertained by three gracious lady singers.
Bobby Jones dancing with and being serenaded by a singer -- Capt. Connelley dancing with daughter-in-law
At the conclusion, Tony Cellucci and Capt. Clyde Connelley honored our dearly departed shipmates by casting a memorial wreath over the side to honor them.
We then went by bus to the Philadelphia Navy Yard which is in transition to a combined military and civilian industrial park. Many of the fine old brick buildings are in disrepair with at least a few undergoing renovation. There are a number of mothballed ships there, a couple of carriers and some guided missile cruisers. The cruisers are no longer painted battleship gray and instead are a mix of pastel type colors (maybe to celebrate "don't ask, don't tell")?