Battleship New Jersey – Camden, Camden County, New Jersey
Website – http://www.battleshipnewjersey.org/
Address – 100 Clinton Street, Camden, NJ
So one of my favorite places in South Jersey is the Battleship USS New Jersey. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of work cleaning her with the scouts, helping out with Eagle Projects there, and welcome soldiers and sailors there for Thanksgiving dinner.
When looking out the window of the PATCO train earlier this summer, The Pres asked if we could go see the battle ship. He’d only been next to it, and I realized that for my score of times I’d been on it, I’d never actually done the proper tour. So I said, “Sure.”
A few days later, there we were.
We opted for the self-guided tour, because that’s the only one that available when we got there, but you can take a few different guided tours that are awesome (like ones down underneath the guns to see the feeding system). The self-guided tour gives you a great overview of the ship, taking you a floor below deck, five floors above deck, and up inside of a turret.
We started on the deck.
Then it was below deck for the first time to check out a bunk area. There are a lot of bunk areas on the ship, as it could hold over 1500 crewmen and officers.
Then it was back up on deck.
While we’re climbing back up the ladder, why is the USS New Jersey so important? Well, other than just being named after the greatest state in the nation, it is also the most decorated battleship in United States history. Seriously. Go New Jersey.
We quickly moved inside to the bottom levels of the superstructure, starting with the officers eating area and the admiral and captain’s cabins. Several times, the USS Jersey served as a flagship of various fleets, so it had accommodations for an admiral, most famously Admiral “Bull” Halsey during World War II.
The USS New Jersey served in many wars – WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Lebanese Civil War, and in the Persian Gulf. Therefore, it had its weapons upgraded over time, up to and including Tomahawk missiles.
Outside, we began to climb the superstructure and explore floors above the deck.
The outside of the upper decks has great views of the Ben Franklin Bridge. It’s fun to pretend to fire the big guns at it, it least it was when I was a teenager.
Once done with the super structure regions, we went down into the museum area. This takes up many rooms and gives a fascinating history from previous USS New Jerseys to the construction of this one through WWII and up to inter-ship bowling tournaments in its later years.
For me, the highlight of the museum (which I hadn’t been in in easily ten years) was the section on the construction of the ship. My Great Aunt, Mary McGarrigle, worked at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard during and after World War II, processed many of the orders for materials for the USS New Jersey, and was at the ship’s launch. It was she (along with one of our Scout leaders, Mr. Madden) who got me so interested in the USS New Jersey.
After the museum (these pictures are the tiniest fraction of what they have there), we checked some of rooms on the ship you don’t necessarily think about – the barber, the laundry, and the brig.
Then it was back up on deck by the helicopter.
There’s one more stop on the tour though, you can go up and inside the turret. Which is pretty great.
Then the tour is all done!
So anyway, come visit the pride of New Jersey, right here in Camden!
I mean, do I have to list them? You get to walk around on a BATTLESHIP! Not just "a" battleship, one that played a key role in WWII. It's so great.
People get freaked out about Camden. It's next to the Aquarium. You'll be fine. Seriously.