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    HomeMilitaryHistoric USS New Jersey Awaits Grand Return After $10M Revamp

    Historic USS New Jersey Awaits Grand Return After $10M Revamp

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    Vietnam War 1968 – Battleship USS New Jersey firing” by manhhai is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The storied USS New Jersey, the most decorated battleship in U.S. Navy history, has embarked on a journey that excites history buffs, technology enthusiasts, and maritime fans alike.

    USS New Jersey (BB-62)” by Teemu008 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    As it undergoes a $10 million renovation, crowds of several thousand onlookers, including veterans and local dignitaries, have sent off the venerable vessel with fanfare and pride.

    Vietnam War 1968 – View of USS New Jersey Firing Guns” by manhhai is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Since March 27, the 887-foot-long battleship, fondly known as “Big J,” has been docked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard’s Dry Dock Number Three—the very place of its creation back in the early 1940s.

    BL361 USS New Jersey” by listentoreason is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    The ambitious project aims to revitalize the historic ship, which boasts 19 battle stars for service in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Lebanon peacekeeping mission of 1983.

    BB-62 USS New Jersey” by wilsonken is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Under the skilled hands of workers from Philadelphia Ship Repair, Big J is receiving a fresh coat of paint and much-needed hull repairs, including the sealing of roughly 160 through holes used to cool the engines during active service. Additionally, a crew of carpenters is fitting the ship with a new teak deck, preserving the integrity of this naval treasure.

    USS New Jersey (BB-62): Gun Mount & Helo” by Kevin H. is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The sheer scale of the ship, which served as a home to over 45,000 sailors and Marines during its 21 active years, resonates with the public. Marshall Spevak, CEO of the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, shared his delight in the strong public interest.

    USS New Jersey” by PMillera4 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    “I’m absolutely blown out of the water by the public response. I never expected anything close to this,” he remarked. As evidence of this engagement, more than 5,000 enthusiasts have shelled out for exclusive dry dock tours, sometimes paying as much as $1,000 per person for the privilege of an in-depth exploration led by curator Ryan Szimanski.

    USS New Jersey” by Abhi Here is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    The Big J’s YouTube channel, catering to the curious and the fervent, now entertains over 240,000 subscribers. Szimanski aptly describes the channel’s purpose: “What I do on the channel is geek out.

    USS New Jersey – Camden” by Reading Tom is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    And viewers get a chance to geek out with me.” The channel serves as a digital conduit for history and technology enthusiasts who relish the intricacies of this grand warship.

    USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62)” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    As part of the restoration efforts, unique memorabilia such as replicas of a nuclear weapons key and glass vials containing rust from the hull have been popular among supporters, turning preservation into an act of communal heritage.

    USS New Jersey” by Steve and Sara is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Spevak observes, “The ship was a home to over 45,000 sailors and Marines during its 21 years in the active fleet, and that type of service evokes nostalgia, patriotism, and gratitude. They don’t make ships like this anymore.”

    USS New Jersey” by tabounds is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The dry-docking maintenance, which is expected to last about 60 days, is a momentous occasion that allows for a rare and complete examination of the vessel’s hull. This routine is a testimony to the enduring connection between the ship, its history, and its community.

    USS New York Arriving in Manhattan for Commissioning” by USACE NY is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Upon completion of the renovations, the Battleship New Jersey is set to return to its permanent mooring on the Camden waterfront in June 2024. The timing aims for a grand re-opening before the July 4 weekend, signifying not only a revival of the ship’s physical form but a renewal of its symbolic presence in American history and culture.

    USS New Jersey 1953” by Eli Dark is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Beyond the restoration, the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial will resume its mission as a site of education and remembrance. It stands poised to continue inspiring future generations with tales of heroism and ingenuity, and with the solemn remembrance of those who walked its decks in service to the country.

    USS New Jersey BB-62” by Net-Maquettes is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    As the USS New Jersey prepares for its celebrated return to the Camden Waterfront, Mayor Victor Carstarphen captures the communal sentiment, “It’s comforting knowing this piece of American history has been preserved for future generations. We all look forward to [the battleship’s] grand return home.” With an unmistakable void soon to be filled, the USS New Jersey’s storied legacy is not just preserved—it is revived and relived.

    Relevant articles:
    Battleship New Jersey Leaves Pier for First Time in More than 20 Years, USNI News
    After a $10 million makeover, Battleship NJ is expected to return to Camden this summer, Inquirer.com
    Purchase Tickets – Battleship New Jersey, Battleship New Jersey
    Battleship New Jersey – Experience a tour of the world’s greatest battleship!, Battleship New Jersey

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