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

July 12, 1998

We love her

As a retired Philadelphia Naval Shipyard worker, I had the privilege of working on the battleship New Jersey twice: once to get it ready for action in the Vietnam War and, again, for a minor overhaul.

I have fond memories of working on her. I remember when they first fired the huge 16-inch guns, it knocked a whole lot of paint off the compartments.

I marveled over the beautiful wooden deck and the heavily armored pilot house. The deck hatches were so heavy, a man could not manually open them.

I and my fellow shipyard workers put many hours on that ship. Sometimes, we would work from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and then come back at midnight and work till 4 p.m. the next day. Even though the hours were long and we rarely had off on the weekends, we were happy and proud as we knew the ship would again distinguish itself, as it did in World War II and Korea.

What also made us proud was knowing the great ship was named after New Jersey. We all used to say that someday this ship will be a historic symbol of the men who served and died on her and the men who worked on her at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

I believe in my heart that the New Jersey should be berthed in Camden, close to the people who loved her and worked on her.

The remark by Mayor Bret Schundler of Jersey City that 'the most decorated battleship should be displayed in the most visible spot in all the world' is silly. Does that mean the battleship Olympia has to move from Philadelphia to 'the most visible spot in the world,' or what about the USS Constitution, or perhaps even the Liberty Bell?

Mayor Schundler wants the battleship in Liberty State Park for the money the ship will bring to the area. But we want more than that. We want to know the USS New Jersey is close to the shipyard and the men who built and worked on her and loved her. We want no more - or less. That is why I want the ship in Camden.

JOE D'IMPERIO
Mantua

USS New Jersey Home Page



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