The Navy announced today that Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig signed the donation contract officially transferring the historic battleship New Jersey (BB 62) to the Home Port Alliance for USS NEW JERSEY Inc., Camden, N.J. Within the next few weeks, the Alliance plans to tow the ship from Philadelphia to a temporary berth in the Camden area to transform the ship into a memorial museum.
"I am pleased that the transfer is complete." commented Danzig. "I am confident that the New Jersey will be proudly displayed in her namesake state as a symbol of her special place in our nation's history."
Before the Alliance's projected opening of the ship to the public late next year, it will perform interior and exterior restoration work, and construct a shoreside visitors center, an interpretive walkway, and a pier for berthing the ship near the New Jersey State Aquarium.
Built at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, the New Jersey was commissioned on May 23, 1943, and saw active service from 1944-1948, 1950-1957, and 1968-1969. After undergoing modernization, she was recommissioned in 1982, serving almost nine more years and demonstrating global U.S. naval presence as part of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Beirut, Lebanon, and in deployments to the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific. Beyond her imposing size, the "Big J" has an impressive record of service to her country, winning many awards for the noteworthy actions of her crew, including sixteen battle stars -- nine in World War II, four during the Korean War, and three during the Vietnam War -- as well as two Navy Unit Commendations, eight service medals and eight service ribbons.
The Navy donates ships as a way of preserving naval history and tradition, educating the public, and commemorating the men and women who built and sailed these vessels. There are currently 45 museum ships displayed across the country, in 21 states. Visitors to these museum ships have the rare opportunity to experience and imagine shipboard life first hand and learn about naval tradition and history.
The Navy looks forward to the future, when this national treasure will welcome visitors to her new berth on the Delaware River in Camden.
Further questions may be addressed at Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs Office at (703) 602-1556.