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    USS New Jersey: A Storied Battleship’s Journey Through Time

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    The USS New Jersey, an Iowa-class battleship with a storied past stretching from World War II to the Persian Gulf, has once again captured public imagination as it embarks on a critical maintenance voyage that serves as a poignant reminder of America’s naval heritage and the tireless efforts to preserve it.

    USS New Jersey (BB-62): Starboard Side” by Kevin H. is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The “Big J,” as it is affectionately known, began its journey from its berth in Camden, New Jersey, to the Philadelphia Navy Yard on March 21, 2024, drawing crowds of spectators from near and far.

    The battleship, which had not moved from Camden since arriving in 2000, signaled its departure with a ceremonial send-off including salutes from state police helicopters and gunfire from the ship itself.

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

    This historic movement was not just an ordinary one; it was a grand display of maritime might that invoked a sense of pride and nostalgia.

    The ship’s movement down the Delaware River was meticulously planned to ensure its safe passage.

    Among the preparations were the removal of the mast and radar to clear the Walt Whitman Bridge and the disabling of ship’s systems.

    USS New Jersey (BB-62): Retired Warrior” by Kevin H. is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    As it floated past onlookers, many marveled at the effort required to move such an 887-foot-long, 45,000-ton leviathan.

    The Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial, recognizing the significance of this event, hosted a free send-off ceremony and provided a unique opportunity for four individuals, who bid thousands of dollars, to ride aboard the ship from Paulsboro to Philadelphia. This unique event was a testament to the living connection between the nation’s rich military history and the enduring enthusiasm for its preservation.

    Undergoing its first dry docking in 32 years, the New Jersey’s $10 million maintenance project is not just about remedial work; it’s a race against time and nature to prevent the ravages of corrosion and the elements from claiming this floating museum.

    The work is expected to take about two months, during which rare weekend tours will be offered, granting visitors the chance to walk beneath the massive hull.

    This extensive preservation effort underscores the importance of safeguarding such historical artifacts, as exemplified by the USS New Jersey and her sister ship, the USS Missouri.

    These steel giants, once protectors of the seas, now serve as floating museums, offering educational and commemorative experiences.

    The USS New Jersey’s recent voyage is not merely a relocation for routine maintenance; it is a powerful reminder of the nation’s commitment to honoring and preserving its naval history for future generations.

    As Marshall Spevak of the Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial stated, “This battleship is just a tremendous piece of history… a once in a generation opportunity really to see the ship move.”

    Through continued dedication to maintenance and education, the legacy of the USS New Jersey and her fellow battleships will endure.

    Relevant articles:
    Iowa-Class Battleship USS New Jersey Has Almost Completed a Historic ‘Comeback’, The National Interest
    U.S. Navy Iowa-Class Battleship USS Missouri’s ‘Comeback’ Is Almost Complete, The National Interest
    Full History – Battleship New Jersey, Battleship New Jersey
    Battleship NJ leaves Camden, embarks on historic journey, NBC10 Philadelphia

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