Monday, March 25, 2024


 25 March 2024: As March winds down, early signs of Spring are everywhere: heavy rain (wait! that's supposed to be in April?), flowers popping up, and most importantly, covers coming off boats tucked away for the winter. And surprises await under those covers! Raccoons who took up residence, bird nests, mice, and who knows what else decided to "winter over" in the comfort of your boat. In keeping with the season, the battleship New Jersey was moved from her "museum" berth in Camden New Jersey to the shipyard where she was built in Philadelphia for a "fix-up" (not a major overhaul as she is not in bad shape) -and make no mistake,  moving her is a big deal! From Fox News:


USS New Jersey to leave port for first time in 24 years, big guns will fire salute: 'I love this ship'

'Big J' launched one year after Pearl Harbor attack, will head to Philadelphia for drydock maintenance

Ken Kersch speaks about the USS New Jersey as if it were a warm old friend instead of cold steel military hardware. "I love this ship," said Kersch, who spent four years in the U.S. Navy (1966-70).

"It’s the best ship I served on. She was a part of my life for two years. She’s a part of me now."

Kersch was a machinist on the USS New Jersey from 1967 to 1969, as the battleship supported land operations during the Vietnam War.

Now, on Thursday, he will ride aboard Big J again. She is scheduled to leave her mooring in Camden, New Jersey at 12:10 p.m. for the first time since arriving in 2000. 

The dauntless dreadnought is now the centerpiece of the Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial

She's being tugged six miles down the Delaware River for drydock maintenance at Philadelphia Navy Yard

The New Jersey is expected to return to Camden in two months. 

Kersch, a machinist during his active service, will fire the guns of the USS New Jersey as it departs its home port and again in response to a salute from Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia.

"It’s a historic homecoming."

"It’s a historic homecoming," Marshall Spevak, CEO of The Homeport Alliance, the nonprofit that operates the ship, told Fox News Digital. 

He said visitors will have the rare opportunity to walk under the battleship as it's suspended in Philadelphia drydock.

The USS New Jersey was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and launched Dec. 7, 1942 — exactly one year to the day after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor catapulted the United States into World War II.


"She supported every amphibious campaign of the Pacific War from 1943 onward," said Spevak.

She went on to an unprecedented career of service, active for 21 years across six decades. 

The USS New Jersey fought in the Korean War, was placed in reserve, then recommissioned for duty in Vietnam. [ed: your scribe witnessed her firing in support of shore activities in VietNam as she fired her 16" guns over  our heads - we were on a destroyer. Quite a sight/experience]

She was already the world’s last active battleship in the late 1960s, as big-gun warcraft were considered a vestige of outdated naval warfare. 

Yet the USS New Jersey was modernized and reactivated again in 1981, as part of President Ronald Reagan’s pledge to create a "600-ship Navy."

The battleship was sent to the Eastern Mediterranean during the Lebanese Civil War in 1984, firing hundreds of shells on Syrian military positions. 

She remained in active service until 1990 and arrived at its home in Camden in 2000. The Battleship New Jersey Museum opened in October 2001.

"She’s the most decorated ship in history, she’s the longest battleship in history and she’s also the fastest battleship in history," said Kersh, who has worked for the Battleship New Jersey Museum since its inception.


UPDATE: She moved:


When she comes back to her "museum" berth, we will try to bring you the images! 

Until next time,

                                            Fair Winds,

                                              old Salt



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