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Thursday, August 11, 2005Past Issues - S | M | T | W | T | F | S
 
South Jersey

Friday, August 10, 2001
Restored anti-missile weapons crowning touch for battleship

By CAROL COMEGNO
Courier-Post Staff
CAMDEN

Anti-missile weapons that once stood atop the battleship USS New Jersey are back on board again.

Cranes lifted four Phalanx guns into place on upper decks this week as the ship received its final trimmings before being opened to the public as a museum next month.

The guns were bought with $120,000 in donations and are the most expensive items of Navy surplus that members of the ship's museum staff have so far obtained.

"I am very proud that we have gotten all four that used to be on the New Jersey. We are the only museum ship that has the full complement," said Scott Kodger, the ship's curator.

He and other staff of the Home Port Alliance, the South Jersey nonprofit group in charge of the $20 million ship- museum project, have also obtained a mock-up of a Tomahawk missile, mattresses, ammunition of all types and utility boats.

The Phalanx weapons system, commonly referred to as the CIWS (pronounced sea-whiz), was first installed on the upper levels of the New Jersey during its conversion to missile technology in 1982.

Raytheon Corp. of Lexington, Mass., and the New Jersey Battleship Foundation each donated $60,000 to buy the guns, originally manufactured by General Dynamics. Raytheon, which bought General Dynamics, also restored them to like- new condition at its Louisville plant.

The white-domed Phalanx can fire up to 3,000 rounds a minute, said Kodger.

Kodger also was able to obtain one of only two aluminum mock-ups of a Tomahawk missile, searchlights, utility boats and ammunition shells for every type of battleship armament.

The ship will be able to host sleepovers, thanks to its boatswain, Joe Shields, who was able to get 600 used mattresses that were being replaced on the aircraft carrier Eisenhower.

"It's all in knowing who to call. The fellow I contacted, who was in charge of this surplus, said (the military) would be glad to donate them if we paid for the shipping, because they were just going to be thrown away," said Shields.

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