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Battleship New Jersey Leaves Pier for First Time in More than 20 Years

CAMDEN, N.J., – A crowd of several thousand well-wishers and veterans joined state and local dignitaries to send off battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) from its berthing on the Delaware River to a dry dock at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on Thursday.

The second of the Iowa-class fast battleships, New Jersey served in World War II as the flagship for Adm. William “Bull” Halsey in the Pacific. The battle ship went on to serve in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and during the peacekeeping mission off the coast of Lebanon following the 1983 bombing of a barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans. During the battleship’s career, New Jersey earned 19 battle stars, making it the most decorated battleship in U.S. Navy history. The ship was decommissioned for the fourth and final time in February 1991 and began a second career as a museum ship in October 2001 across the river from Philadelphia.After an hour-long ceremony that included remarks by Battleship N.J. CEO Marshall Spevak, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) and Program Executive Officer Ships and New Jersey native Rear Adm. Thomas Anderson, New Jersey’s lines were cast off and four tug boats from McAllister Towing nudged her away from the pier.

Bryan J. Dickerson retains the right to the photos. Contact dickersonbj@yahoo.com for rights beyond USNI News
A tugboat from McAllister Towing nudges Battleship New Jersey (BB-62)away from her pier on the Camden, N.J., waterfront on March 21, 2024. Bryan J. Dickerson Photo used with permission

Once away from the pier, the assisting tugboats and quickly turned the 887-foot-long battleship 180 degrees and guided down New Jersey down the river. As the engines and steering controls are no longer operable, the ship needed the tugboats for propulsion and steering. For safety reasons, officials briefly halted traffic on the Walt Whitman Bridge while “Big J” glided underneath the bridge.

The battleship is now temporarily moored at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal in Paulsboro, N.J. Final preparations will get the battleship ready for dry-docking. On March 27, New Jersey will be towed to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and guided into Dry Dock Number Three, where she had been constructed back in the early 1940s.

The dry-docking maintenance period will take about 60 days to complete, according to museum officials. During this time, the hull will be thoroughly inspected and repainted, and repairs made as needed. Philadelphia Ship Repair will perform the maintenance work. While the battleship is in dry dock, special tours will be offered for visitors to get a unique and rare view of the 62,000-ton warship out of the water.

Bryan J. Dickerson retains the right to the photos. Contact dickersonbj@yahoo.com for rights beyond USNI News
A tugboat from McAllister Towing nudges Battleship New Jersey (BB-62)away from her pier on the Camden, N.J., waterfront on March 21, 2024. Bryan J. Dickerson Photo used with permission
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