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USS New Jersey

Exploring a WWII Iowa Class Battleship in Camden New Jersey

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I'd seen the WWII Battleship USS Idaho (BB-61) moored up at Long Beach in California during our visit to the Queen Mary but she was closed by the time we got to her so I was hoping there would be a chance to look around one of her sister ships when I got to the US East Coast. Sure enough there was and we went to see the USS New Jersey (BB-62) moored at Camden opposite Philadelphia on the Delaware River.

USS New Jersey (BB-62) at Camden

USS New Jersey (BB-62) at Camden


Philadelphia and the Ben Franklin Bridge as seen from the USS New Jersey moored at Camden

Philadelphia and the Ben Franklin Bridge as seen from the USS New Jersey moored at Camden


Close up of the Philadelphia skyline from the USS New Jersey across the Delaware River at Camden

Close up of the Philadelphia skyline from the USS New Jersey across the Delaware River at Camden


The USS Olympia and Moshulu moored across the Delaware River at Penns Landing in Philadelphia

The USS Olympia and Moshulu moored across the Delaware River at Penns Landing in Philadelphia

The USS New Jersey was the second (of four) Iowa Class Battleships built for the US Navy during World War II and served in the Pacific 1944-1945, much of it as flagship for Fleet Admiral William Halsey. She went on to serve in Korea (1950-1953), Vietnam (1967-1969) and the Lebanese Civil War (1983-1984) before finally being decommissioned in 1991 and becoming a museum ship at Camden in 2000. With the award of a total of 19 battle and campaign stars during her career the USS New Jersey is the most decorated battleship ever in the US Navy.

Inside one of the forward gun turrets aboard the USS New Jersey

Inside one of the forward gun turrets aboard the USS New Jersey


The captain's in-port cabin aboard the USS New Jersey

The captain's in-port cabin aboard the USS New Jersey


A corridor of bulkhead doors below deck aboard the USS New Jersey

A corridor of bulkhead doors below deck aboard the USS New Jersey


Helsey-era Chief of Staff Stateroom aboard the USS New Jersey

Helsey-era Chief of Staff Stateroom aboard the USS New Jersey

After a brief look inside of one of the main forward gun turrets and various officer cabins (complete with dummies) we entered the dimly lit Operations Room full of TV screens, computer consoles and sonar/radar displays as well as several grease-pencil annotated transparent plotting boards - just like something out of a film such as the USS Missouri in Steven Seagal's 1992 film "Under Siege".

Inside the Operations Room aboard the USS New Jersey

Inside the Operations Room aboard the USS New Jersey


The Operations Room in more usual dimly lit mode (i.e. without the camera flash!)

The Operations Room in more usual dimly lit mode (i.e. without the camera flash!)

From the Operations Room the red and yellow lines on the floor we were asked to follow next took us outside onto the Bridge where I was able to sit in the chair used by Admiral Halsey when he commanded the US Third Fleet at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944.

Me sat in Admiral Helsey's chair on the Navigation Bridge aboard the USS New Jersey

Me sat in Admiral Helsey's chair on the Navigation Bridge aboard the USS New Jersey


The view from the Bridge of the USS New Jersey moored in Camden

The view from the Bridge of the USS New Jersey moored in Camden

The view over the forward gun turrets in the bright sunshine was particularly good from the upper deck of the Bridge. The day we visited there was also an Admiral's retirement ceremony with lots of naval personnel in white dress uniforms taking place on the Forward Deck in front of the forward guns. An unusual event to witness but unfortunately it did mean we were not able to go out and look around the Forward Deck.

Looking down on the forward gun turrets from the Bridge

Looking down on the forward gun turrets from the Bridge


A Retirement Ceremony underway on the forward deck of the USS New Jersey

A Retirement Ceremony underway on the forward deck of the USS New Jersey

The USS New Jersey was de-commissioned and re-activated twice during her career with her armaments upgraded each time; her first decommission was in 1957 with reactivation for the Vietnam War in 1967; her second decommission was in 1969 with reactivation in 1982. As we made our way back along the ship the first of these new armaments we saw was a Phalanx Battery (often nicknamed by crews as "R2-D2" or "Daleks" because of their shape) used against anti-ship missiles. We then passed a 5 inch gun battery and chaff launchers before reaching the armoured box launchers used to launch Tomahawk long-distance cruise missiles.

20 mm/76 cal. Phalanx Battery aboard the USS New Jersey

20 mm/76 cal. Phalanx Battery aboard the USS New Jersey


5 inch gun battery with Chaff Launchers on the deck above aboard the USS New Jersey

5 inch gun battery with Chaff Launchers on the deck above aboard the USS New Jersey


Tomahawk Cruise Missile Armoured Box Launcher aboard the USS New Jersey

Tomahawk Cruise Missile Armoured Box Launcher aboard the USS New Jersey

Back inside we had a brief look around a museum area containing dummies wearing sailor and marine uniforms and comparing the US Iowa Class Battleships with their contemporaries in other navies such as the Japanese Yamato, German Bismark and British King George V. We then entered more mundane areas of the ship such as the famed "Chow-Line" and "Mess Deck" where food was served to enlisted men from the Ship's Galley.

The 'Chow-Line' aboard the USS New Jersey

The 'Chow-Line' aboard the USS New Jersey


A 'Mess Deck' for enlisted men aboard the USS New Jersey

A 'Mess Deck' for enlisted men aboard the USS New Jersey

From the Mess Deck our tour took us past the multi-faith Chapel, the Barber Shop and the Dry Cleaners. Our final stop was the "Brig" (the navy's term for their on-board jail/prison) where misbehaving sailors were sent and guarded by members of the USS New Jersey's marine detachment (MARDET).

A multi-faith Chapel aboard the USS New Jersey

A multi-faith Chapel aboard the USS New Jersey


Time for a haircut? - Barber Shop aboard the USS New Jersey

Time for a haircut? - Barber Shop aboard the USS New Jersey


Smartly pressed uniforms at the Dry Cleaners aboard the USS New Jersey

Smartly pressed uniforms at the Dry Cleaners aboard the USS New Jersey


The 'Brig' aboard the USS New Jersey

The 'Brig' aboard the USS New Jersey

We emerged back into daylight on the rear deck of the ship and took pictures of the impressive rear main battery with each of its three guns sealed by a black cap with a white star before leaving the USS New Jersey and returning to shore.

The Rear Main Battery and Seasprite Helicopter aboard the USS New Jersey

The Rear Main Battery and Seasprite Helicopter aboard the USS New Jersey


Close up of the starboard side of the USS New Jersey moored at Camden

Close up of the starboard side of the USS New Jersey moored at Camden


Another view of the Admiral's retirement ceremony being held on the USS New Jersey's forward deck

Another view of the Admiral's retirement ceremony being held on the USS New Jersey's forward deck

Before finally leaving Camden there was one last sight to see, namely the former headquarters (now renovated and converted into apartments and a conference centre) of the RCA Victor Company built 1909-1916 with its stained glass images on its 200 foot high tower of the "His Master's Voice" logo of a dog called "Nipper" listening to a gramophone record. I must admit to being a bit confused as to what the HMV record company logo was doing on top of a RCA building but it turns out there were two separate companies (one in the USA and the other in Britain) that had purchased the rights to use "Nipper" as their logo.

The RCA 'Nipper' Building in Camden

The RCA 'Nipper' Building in Camden


Close up of the stained glass window on top of the RCA 'Nipper' Building

Close up of the stained glass window on top of the RCA 'Nipper' Building

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged philadelphia warships war_memorials us_east_coast

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