25, 1999 |
should be the only place to seat the mighty warrior of the seas
Circle of life
As a proud member of the Home Port Alliance, I am a strong
backer of the USS New Jersey coming home to the Delaware River.
If we are honored with placement of the ship on our Waterfront,
we are prepared to assume the important task of educating our
young people of the perils of war and the necessity for peace.
We will show them why dedicating themselves to protect our country
through a career in the military is a noble calling. We will
honor the contributions of our veterans for their many sacrifices.
Berthing the battleship in Camden will help bring job opportunities
to our residents and provide visitors with a compelling reason
to make the interconnected Camden and Philadelphia Waterfront
a destination not to be missed.
Let's close the circle of her life; she was built and launched
here and now we wish to put her to rest with reverence. I extend
a thank you to everyone who has cared to be involved with the
Home Port Alliance in our cause. Join us in early November at
the Red Bank Battlefield in National Park as we watch in awe
as she passes by on her way to her temporary home at the former
U.S. Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia. Keep the momentum going
also as we await word from the Navy if we are to have the privilege
of providing the final berthing place for the majestic BB-62.
The USS New Jersey is making her historic journey "home"
to the state of New Jersey at this writing, and this is a time
for celebration as we plan to welcome her home with reverence
and awe. Once again, we extend our thanks to the members of the
USS New Jersey Battleship Commission, the Battleship New Jersey
Foundation and the Battleship New Jersey Historical Museum Society
for their combined efforts over more than 20 years to help bring
the battleship to our shores.
With regard to final site selection, my allegience lies with
the exceptional Camden site and the application of the Home Port
Alliance for the USS New Jersey. I am proud to be a part of this
not-for-profit organization whose leaders, with tremendous support
from the residents of the tri-state area and beyond, have worked
tirelessly to present a formidable plan to showcase the battleship
on the Camden Waterfornt, just 25 ship lengths away from where
she was built at our Navy yard.
We are confident that we presented a top-notch application
to the ship donation decision-making authority, the U.S. Navy.
Now we await its final selection and we have not been idle during
this important watchful time.
I want to thank all of the people who have contacted my office
to share their personal stories about the BB-62 and to offer
to help in the Alliance efforts to bring her home. We appreciate
having you as part of our team, and your support is very valued.
SENATOR JOHN J. MATHEUSSEN
For those who fought
At the age of 17, I stood on the deck of my first ship, the
USS New Jersey on May 23, 1943, as I listened to her being commissioned
into active duty. How proud I was, knowing that I would be living
and working on this ship to fight for my country.
Now she is coming home. And where is home? Where she was built
and commissioned into active duty. Home is where we all are born,
and the USS New Jersey's home is Camden.
She should have her final resting place where she was built
and across the river from where our Founding Fathers signed the
Declaration of Independence.
Let's stop politicking between north and south. Let her rest
in fresh water. She first sailed from our shores via the Panama
Canal to fight for our country. Once again, she will pass through
the Panama Canal to return home to Camden.
I am asking this for Captain Carl F. Holden, 161 officers
and the 2,592 enlisted men who commissioned her.
JOSEPH A. HOPKINS
The "Big J" is coming home, and it will be to the
great port of Camden! This great battleship was built by residents
and patriots of the Delaware Valley. They certainly should be
allowed to revel in its rightful home in Camden.
The Courier-Post is right when it says that all of the advantages
of the "Big J" coming to a permanent mooring in Camden
are due to fresh water, noncorrosive location and its accessibility
to many more visitors than if the battleship were moored in Bayonne.
Let's also mention a few firsts when the "Big J"
comes to its home port of Camden. It will be the longest nonmilitary
tow in history (in 1964, the USS Alabama set the current record
of 5,600 miles). The "Big J" will be towed 5,900 miles.
The port of Camden will house the most decorated warship in
the history of naval warfare and the last of the naval battleships
with 16-inch guns that can accurately deliver a shell 23 miles.
Camden will be the perfect home for the USS New Jersey and
it surely will be exciting for this Navy vet and hundreds of
thousands of residents in this area during the first week of
When the "Big J" comes to Camden, this will be a
further demonstration of the ability of the present administration
in Camden City Hall (led by Mayor Milton Milan) as to how to
keep and deliver campaign promises. It sure is an exciting time
to be a resident of Camden!
In 1942, the United States was embroiled in yet another global
conflict and was hard-pressed to protect its shores from enemy
invasions. They never came, thanks to all of the veterans who
served their country.
Throughout its gloried service to the United States, the USS
New Jersey stood not only as a shining symbol of American patriotism,
but as one of the myriad examples of the dedication of American
workers who, by virtue of their chosen trades and love of country,
built the ship to withstand any and all opposition.
Her birth was created out of a great need for powerful warships
to assert the American influence. Congress commissioned the construction
of four Iowa Class battleships to be added to the already expansive
As she is now being towed from Bremerton, Wash., the "Big
J" could probably still pack a punch in the world's trouble
That both Bayonne and Camden are grappling for berthing rights
is absurd. Bayonne had nothing to do with the inception of the
USS New Jersey, so it should stand to reason that it not be able
to lay claim.
Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina - although a veteran - has lost
his sense of protocol if he believes Bayonne would be a better
berthing site than Camden. Camden should be the only place to
seat the mighty warrior of the seas. She was born, launched and
commissioned across the river from Camden. She should come home
Bayonne may be invited to the ceremony, but I believe with
all my heart that the USS New Jersey should come home to rest
in its berth place: Camden.
Welcome it home
They say home is where the heart is. For the USS New Jersey,
that can only be the Camden Waterfront, where the great battleship
was born. From birth to berth, the USS New Jersey deserves to
Thousands of men and women who lived in the Delaware Valley
built the great battleship. They worked three shifts, around
the clock, as the country struggled its way out of the Great
Depression. They created the most decorated battleship in the
U.S. Navy, launched on Pearl Harbor Day from the Philadelphia
Now it is time to bring the USS New Jersey home to the Waterfront
just down the river from the city where the Declaration of Independence
The people of New Jersey - all of New Jersey - should honor
our nation's history by welcoming our proud freedom fighter home
to the Camden Waterfront, where it was born and where it belongs.
SUSAN BASS LEVIN
I am not privy to the competing applications of Bayonne and
Camden's Home Port Alliance. However, to the extent that the
media has developed an accurate portrait of salient features
of each, it strikes me that Camden is a better site if only for
the fresh water considerations. I know that Camden is badly in
need of economic revitalization and that this proud ship would
help immensely relative to those considerations.
I am also favorably disposed toward Camden because the BB-62,
as the Navy's most-decorated ship, deserves star billing - a
presentation all her own. In Bayonne, the USS New Jersey would
be competing for the affections of the public with other attractions
- not the least of which is the USS Intrepid.
The USS New Jersey has earned its distinction. The Navy should
honor her one last time by placing her on display where she will
be most appreciated and venerated. I believe that place is Camden.
I look forward to seeing the BB-62 grace the Camden Waterfront
and being able to take my sons on board in the near future.
DAVID W. THOMPSON
Not just a ship
I fear the USS New Jersey will end up in Bayonne and not in
Camden where I feel it should be located. The battleship was
given "birth" across the river in Philadelphia and
should now be given its final "berth" close to home.
I am sure there are more people in the Camden area who helped
to build the ship than there are in North Jersey.
Regardless of what Wilson E. Adams (letter, 9/16) thinks about
"this old ship," it is more than an old ship; it is
a memorial to the people who helped to build it and the people
who gave their lives by serving and helping to defend our country.
I hope South Jersey is not going to be the unwanted, unwelcome
relative of North Jersey again.