By CAROL COMEGNO
A USS New Jersey exhibit is coming to Burlington County.
The May 19 showcase at Burlington Center in Burlington Township is the first of four upcoming events to benefit the battleship museum and memorial, which is scheduled to open in Camden on Sept. 2.
The traveling exhibit will include models, ship artifacts, entertainment and a medal ceremony for veterans. It will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the mall, on Burlington-Mount Holly Road.
The Home Port Alliance, the South Jersey coalition restoring the ship, is sponsoring the event. It will offer ship merchandise, such as T-shirts and hats, for sale.
The Rancocas Valley High School Band from Mount Holly, the Harmony Show Choir and the Garden State Chorale will perform.
"The event will be similar to the first one held at the Echelon Mall in Voorhees a few months ago," said retired Rear Adm. Thomas Seigenthaler, the alliance's executive director. "We want to take our show on the road to reach folks in other parts of the state."
The exhibit heads to Central Jersey on June 16 for a stop at Monmouth Mall in Eatontown.
Meanwhile, the Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Club is preparing to broadcast its first worldwide radio transmission to ham operators from the ship, at its Broadway Terminal repair dock, on May 26.
The ship also will house a Memorial Day ceremony that day, but that event will be closed to the public because of continuing construction to refurbish the historic warship. The New Jersey fought in three major wars - World War II, Korea and Vietnam - and is one of the most highly decorated ships in U.S. naval history.
On Aug. 26, the alliance will sponsor its first Battleship New Jersey Motorcycle Run, which it hopes will be an annual event. The 62-mile route will begin at the ship's birthplace at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, travel to Delaware, cross the Delaware River Memorial Bridge into New Jersey and end at Wiggins Park in Camden.
Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to participate. To register, contact the alliance at (856) 966- 1652; the registration fee is $10.