September 10, 1998
of warship hold rally
By MIKE FRANOLICH
Paris L. Gray, Courier-Post
Attending a battleship rally in Camden (from left) are Dan Muckel
of Barrington; Frank Burkhardt of Gloucester City; Joseph Counts
of Bellmawr; and William Starkey of Glassboro.
CAMDEN - On the eve of an official
recommendation of a permanent site for the USS New Jersey - the
Navy's most-honored battleship - a small crew of people rallied
in Wiggins Park Wednesday in favor of having it berthed on the
"No matter what the (New Jersey Battleship) commission
says tomorrow, the battleship was destined since it was born
here, to return to Camden," state Sen. John Matheussen,
R-Gloucester, told about 75 people who gathered at the 5 p.m.
The commission vote will endorse one of three sites - Bayonne,
Jersey City, or on the Waterfront near the Blockbuster-Sony Entertainment
Centre, where it would become a floating museum.
Although the commission votes today, an internal commission
report already recommends the Bayonne site. Commission Chairman
Joseph Azzolina discounted the report after it was publicized
Wednesday. He said the report was incomplete and was not used
to guide commission members.
"Whatever the decision tomorrow, South Jersey has put
together its best presentation . . . will make every effort to
visit her . . . and will continue to fight for her," Mayor
Milton Milan said at the rally, sponsored by talk radio station
The USS New Jersey fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam
and the Persian Gulf.
It was built on the Delaware River by South Jerseyans and
Pennsylvanians at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Later, area
residents also modernized the ship, which was stored at Bayonne
twice after World War II.
"The people came out for it. The money's committed. It's
the perfect spot. What else is it going to take?" asked
Audubon resident Ruth Reynolds, 66. "If we don't get it,
I'll want to know why."
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