By CAROL COMEGNO
PARIS L. GRAY/Courier-Post
Dan Thomas and Debbie Brown, both of Winslow, look at a model of the USS New Jersey Thursday at Eche
lon Mall. The mall will have exhibits on display and entertainment dedicated to the ship this weekend.
The gray battleship ship rises and falls as it plows
through the waves, its gun turrets turning to take aim at
There is no enemy in sight, however, because the ship is
a model sitting inside the Echelon Mall.
The model, fashioned by battleship enthusiast and ex-
Marine Joe Schultes of Wenonah, will be part of the
exhibits, lectures and entertainment during USS New Jersey
Weekend at the mall.
"It's the most powerful battleship in the world," said
Schultes, whose model will be one of at least seven on
display Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Most of the models will be in the Strawbridge Court but
exhibits and entertainment by string bands and choirs will
take place in different mall locations during the two
In addition to a display of ship artifacts in Boscov's
Court, the public is being asked to donate its own
memorabilia from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday on the upper level in
front of Zales.
Thomas Seigenthaler, executive director of the Home Port
Alliance, said items being sought are military uniforms
like those that would have been worn on the ship (whose
Navy designation was BB-62), artifacts that may have come
from the ship and sailor correspondence, diaries or
pictures from 1943 to 1991.
"The USSNJ weekend is an ideal opportunity for the Home
Port Alliance to bring the great spirit of the battleship
to the community," he said. "We have been overwhelmed by
the support from so many individuals and organizations and
are anxious to share some of BB-62's majesty before our
The ship, one of the most highly decorated in naval
history, was launched in 1942 at the former Philadelphia
Naval Shipyard and will become a museum on the Camden
Waterfront. It fought in World War II, the Korean War,
Vietnam War and off Beirut before being retired in
The Secretary of the Navy awarded the ship to the
nonprofit Home Port Alliance in January 2000.
During the weekend event at Echelon Mall, the public
will be able to sign up for volunteer duty on the ship
during its restoration and for future jobs such as tour
For children, there will also be a coloring contest and
a chance to win a free walking tour of the ship after its
The exhibit is open during mall hours from 10 a.m. to 9:
30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.