By CAROL COMEGNO
The battleship USS New Jersey in Camden is now listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, the state Department of Environmental Protection commissioner said.
"The battleship New Jersey is our nation's most decorated battleship and now a permanent fixture in New Jersey's rich history," DEP commissioner Bradley Campbell said Friday.
Its listing on the state register is a tribute to the sailors who served during the ship's long and distinguished career since its construction at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard during World War II.
The USS New Jersey was launched into the Delaware River on Dec. 7, 1942, during World War II and was last decommissioned in 1991. It earned a total of 19 campaign stars in that war, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Beirut Crisis as well as service in the Persian Gulf before Operation Desert Storm.
The state battleship commission first applied for register status in 1996 but the ship was then owned by the Navy and was not in New Jersey.
The Home Port Alliance, the nonprofit that operates the Battleship New Jersey Memorial and Museum on the Camden Waterfront, updated that application to the state historic preservation office in fall 2003. The Navy donated the ship to the alliance and it opened as a museum in 2001.
"This is a recognition of the intrinsic historic, technical and cultural importance of the battleship and we are extremely happy with the designation," said Scott Kodger, museum curator.
The state designation also means the state will review plans to prevent destruction or damage of this historic resource.
That does not mean there will be additional restrictions beyond what the museum has already placed as part of the restoration, Kodger said. The ship has been restored to meet a high standard of preservation that the alliance plans to continue, he said.
The alliance is also preparing an application to the National Park Service for the ship's inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
Reach Carol Comegno at (609) 267-9486 or firstname.lastname@example.org