USS New Jersey (BB 62)
Battleship of the Iowa class
|Navy||The US Navy|
|Built by||Philadelphia Navy Yard (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)|
|Ordered||1 Jul 1939|
|Laid down||16 Sep 1940|
|Launched||7 Dec 1942|
|Commissioned||23 May 1943|
|End service||9 Sep 1991|
USS New Jersey aquired the nickname "The Black Dragon" in WWII due to being painted a dark blue which made it very difficult to see in the dark. USS New Jersey participated in nearly all of the Western Pacific campaigns from her arrival in the theater in January 1944 until the end of WW II. Her first combat action came as a unit of the Fifth Fleet in assaults on the Marshall Islands. Next was the invasion of the Marianas where her heavy guns battered Saipan and Tinian. She screened carriers as American and Japanese pilots dueled in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and then contributed to strikes on Guam and the Palaus. In late 1944, she was a unit of fast carrier task forces ranging the waters off the Philippines, Okinawa and Formosa. She shot down planes in the Philippines campaigns and continued to protect the carriers. New Jersey was directly engaged in the conquest of Okinawa in early 1945. She fought off air raids, rescued downed pilots, defended the carriers from suicide planes and shot them down. She provided heavy bombardment, preparing the invasion beaches for the assault. Following flagship assignments in Japanese waters in late 1945, she took aboard nearly a thousand homeward-bound troops for return to the U.S.
In 1946, The "Big J" returned to the Atlantic, making midshipman cruises to Northern European waters and operating in the western Atlantic. She was decommissioned at Bayonne, N. J. on 30 June 1948. With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, she was recommissioned on 21 November 1950. During her two tours of duty in Korean waters, she operated in direct support of United Nations troops, interdicted Communist supply and communication routes, and destroyed supplies and troop positions. During her first shore bombardment mission at Wonsan, she received her only combat casualties of the Korean War. One of her men was killed and two severely wounded by shore battery fire. New Jersey made deployments to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean between 1955 and her decommissioning at Bayonne on 21 August 1957. Her third career began on 6 April 1968 when she was recommissioned in Philadelphia. Operating from her new homeport of Long Beach, California, she arrived off the coast of Vietnam in late 1968. For the next six months she fired against Communist targets, destroying gun positions and supply areas. New Jersey was decommissioned for the third time at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 17 December 1969. New Jersey returned to the active fleet for the final time on 28 December 1982. After mounting a show of strength off troubled El Salvador, she rushed to the Mediterranean in the fall of 1983 to provide fire support for Marines in Beirut, Lebanon. For the next seven years she served in a variety of roles, including regular deployments to the Western Pacific. She was decommissioned for the final time on 9 September 1991.
New Jersey was awarded 16 battle stars for her actions against the enemy in three conflicts, making her the most decorated battleship in the history of the U.S. Navy In 1999, New Jersey was towed from Bremerton to Philadelphia in preparation for final berthing as a museum ship in New Jersey. Finally the "Big J" was moved to Camden, New Jersey, and was opened to the public in October 2001.
Commands listed for USS New Jersey (BB 62)
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|1||Captain Carl Frederick Holden, USN||23 May 1943||26 Jan 1945|
|2||Edmund Tyler Wooldridge, USN||26 Jan 1945||15 Nov 1945|
|3||Lcmdr Edward Matthew Thompson, USN||15 Nov 1945||5 Aug 1946|
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Noteable events involving New Jersey include:
Commanding Officers of the New Jersey Captain Carl F. Holden 23 May 1943 - 26 January 1945 Captain Edmund T. Wooldridge 26 January 1945 - 15 November 1945 Captain Edward M. Thompson 17 November 1945 - 5 August 1946 Captain Leon J. Huffman 5 August 1946 - 23 May 1947 Captain George L. Menocal 23 May 1947 - 14 February 1948 Captain Joseph W. Leverton, Jr. 14 February 1948 - 30 June 1948 Captain David M. Tyree 21 November 1950 - 17 November 1951