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

September 25, 1999

Camden should be the only place to seat the mighty warrior of the seas


Courier-Post staff


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.

ANN DuVALL

Sewell

Homeward bound

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

4th District

Turnersville

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

Mount Holly

Camden excitement

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 November.

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!

BOB GORMAN

Camden

Camden's ship

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 Naval fleet.

As she is now being towed from Bremerton, Wash., the "Big J" could probably still pack a punch in the world's trouble spots.

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 to Camden.

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.

CHRISTOPHER CONCANNON

Bellmawr

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 go home.

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 Naval Shipyard.

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 was signed.

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

Mayor

Cherry Hill

Star billing

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

Haddon Heights

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.

T.C. MURRAY

Camden



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