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

April 29, 1994

Bring the 'Black Dragon' home

The USS New Jersey belongs on the Camden Waterfront.

It may take a puff of magic but some South Jerseyites are striving to have the 'Black Dragon' live by its native sea again.

They want to have the USS New Jersey brought to the Camden Waterfront. Nicknamed the 'Black Dragon' because of its sharply rising bow and and its Navy blue camouflage coloring, the battleship was christened at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on Dec. 7, 1942.

It served in four wars but frolics now only in the autumn mist of memory. It is mothballed but the Navy will not indicate when it might be decommissioned.

What's more, there is a Battleship New Jersey Historical Museum Society dedicated to bringing the ship to Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

attribute 13 Undaunted, Lois Coskey of Collingswood, Fred Scholobohm of Cinnaminson, Jack Riley of Marlton and Walter Eife of Westmont are, among others, struggling to siphon it to Camden. They have an enthusiastic ally in Joe Balzano, executive director of the South Jersey Port Corp.

Nevertheless, they've charted a choppy course. Besides North Jersey's presumed advantage, there's a question of cost. Joseph Azzolina, the Monmouth County assemblyman who is chairman of the state battleship commission, estimates it would cost $5 million just to tow the New Jersey from its mooring in Bremerton, Wash. 'The population needed to support an attraction like this is in the north,' he emphasizes, 'and so, frankly, are the people with the money need to underwrite such a project.'

Maybe so, but the South Jersey crew grittily sails on. To them, we echo Capt. James Lawrence, who lived in Burlington City: Don't give up the ship!



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