Class: Iowa Battleship
Launched: 7 December 1942
At: Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Commissioned: 23 May 1943
Length: 887 feet, 7 inches
Beam: 108 feet, 1 inch
Draft: 38 feet
Displacement: 57,200 tons
Armament: Nine 16″/50 caliber guns; 12 5″/38 caliber guns; 32 Tomahawk missile launchers; 16 Harpoon missile launchers; four 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon System gatling-type guns
Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial
62 Battleship Place
Camden, NJ 08103-3302
Fax: (856) 966-3131
Latitude: 39.939435, Longitude: -75.132993
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USS New Jersey participated in nearly all of the Western Pacific campaigns from her arrival in the theater in January 1944 until the end of WW II. Her first combat action came as a unit of the Fifth Fleet in assaults on the Marshall Islands. Next was the invasion of the Marianas where her heavy guns battered Saipan and Tinian. She screened carriers as American and Japanese pilots dueled in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and then contributed to strikes on Guam and the Palaus. In October 1944, she was Admiral William Halsey’s 3rd Fleet flagship during the Battle of Leyte Gulf – the world’s largest naval battle – and accompanied Allied naval forces to waters off the Philippines, Okinawa and Formosa in 1945.
New Jersey was directly engaged in the conquest of Okinawa in early 1945. She fought off air raids, rescued downed pilots and defended the carriers from Kamikaze suicide planes. New Jersey also provided heavy bombardment, preparing the beaches for Allied invasion forces. Following flagship assignments in Japanese waters in late 1945, she took aboard nearly a thousand homeward-bound troops returning to the U.S.
In 1946, The “Big J” returned to the Atlantic, making midshipman cruises to northern European waters and operating in the western Atlantic. She was decommissioned at Bayonne, NJ in June 1948. With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, she was re-commissioned on 21 November 1950. During her two tours of duty in Korean waters, she operated in direct support of United Nations troops, interdicting Communist supply and communication routes. During her first shore bombardment mission at Wonsan, she received her only combat casualty in her forty-eight years of service when a crewman was killed and three wounded by Communist shore battery fire.
New Jersey made deployments to northern Europe and the Mediterranean between 1955 and her decommissioning at Bayonne on 21 August 1957. Her third career began 6 April 1968 when she was re-commissioned in Philadelphia. Operating from her new homeport of Long Beach, California, as the world’s only active battleship, she arrived off the coast of Vietnam in late 1968. The Department of Defense later estimated that 100 American servicemen’s lives were saved for each day she served off the coast of Vietnam, destroying enemy gun positions, troop concentrations and supply areas. New Jersey was decommissioned for the third time at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 17 December 1969.
New Jersey returned to the active fleet for the final time in December 1982. After mounting a show of strength off troubled El Salvador, she rushed to the Mediterranean in the fall of 1983 to provide fire support for Marines in Beirut, Lebanon. The first U.S. Navy warship to fire a Tomahawk cruise missile or enter the Persian Gulf, the “Big J” served in a variety of roles, including regular deployments to the Western Pacific. She was decommissioned for the fourth and final time in February 1991, after traveling more miles and firing more shells than any other battleship in history. New Jersey was awarded 19 battle and campaign stars for her actions against enemy forces in three conflicts, making her the most decorated battleship in U.S. naval history.
As America’s most decorated surviving warship, New Jersey has been meticulously restored to her 1990 appearance, and opened for tours in October 2001. Today, as the most modern and complete missile armed museum warship open to the public anywhere in the world, visitors can experience the only floating, interactive Combat Engagement Center (CEC) depicting modern naval warfare at sea on our docent led Firepower Tour, an up close and detailed look at the impressive weapon systems onboard the “Big J.” New Jersey also offers regular docent-guided tours and self-guided tours, each covering seven decks including the flag and navigation bridges, wardroom, enlisted sleeping quarters, galley and mess decks. All tours feature New Jersey‘s fully restored Seasprite anti-submarine helicopter and massive 16″ and 5″ guns. All tours include full color, large, extensive interpretive signage as well as video and other interactive elements for our guests, and several permanent and rotating interactive exhibits. Host your next meeting, conference, tradeshow, social event or class reunion onboard America’s most decorated battleship! Permanently berthed along the Camden Waterfront, New Jersey also boasts an extensive overnight encampment program, and a shore-side 4-D Flight Simulator depicting her World War II “Seahawk” gunnery spotter aircraft in action off Okinawa.