Battleship New Jersey begins trip to dry dock

Battleship New Jersey/Instagram
The Battleship New Jersey sailed beneath the Walt Whitman Bridge on its way to Paulsboro, where it will remain for about a week before heading to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, site of its original construction in 1940.

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The Battleship New Jersey – the most decorated battleship in Navy history – embarked last week on a journey from its longstanding berth in Camden City toward Paulsboro’s Marine Terminal, where it was expected to remain briefly before it undergoes crucial maintenance in dry dock at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The World War II ship – now a floating museum on Camden’s waterfront – weighs 45,000 tons and has more than 1,600 rooms. With a rich history spanning more than 50 years, the battleship also earned distinction in the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War and conflicts in the Middle East.

From its design in 1938 to its decommissioning in February of 1991, the battleship has left an indelible mark on naval history.

A large, cheering crowd of about 2,000 gathered along the waterfront to watch as the massive vessel was guided by tugboats into the Delaware River shortly after noon. Marshall Spevak, CEO of the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, noted that the battleship made exceptional time, arriving in Paulsboro ahead of schedule, just after 3:15 p.m.

In a strong wind, the Camden Creative Arts High School Band accompanied the ship’s departure. Spectators aboard two cruise ships – the Rendezvous and the Spirit of Philadelphia – trailed”Big J’s” security perimeter, and onlookers gathered at various waterfront spots along the battleship’s route to the Marine Terminal.

The battleship’s departure was marked by a salute fired from one of its guns, and two New Jersey State Police helicopters conducted a flyover as bugler Nan LaCorte performed the national anthem.

The battleship has spent more than two decades on the Jersey side of the Delaware River, and it’s been more than 30 years since its last dry docking, even though Navy regulations mandate such maintenance every 20 years.

The $10-million battleship project will include routine maintenance and repainting for the first time since 2001. The work is expected to take about two months once the ship arrives at the Navy Yard, where it was built beginning in 1940.

The Battleship New Jersey went into service on Dec. 7, 1942 – a year after the Pearl Harbor attack that forced the U.S. into World War II.

For more information about the ship or to donate, visit

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