NEW JERSEY was on a three-month
shakedown cruise off Southern California when the Beirut crisis began. She transited
the Panama Canal, having been designed to do so with a clearance of approximately
two feet. NEW JERSEY remained on station with the Sixth Fleet for six more months
in support of U.S Marines in the Multi-National Defense Force in Lebanon.
On February 8, 1984 she fired 288 rounds with her 16 inch guns into the surrounding hills to effectively knock out Syrian anti-aircraft missile sites. The accuracy of the guns was questioned by some critics, but the mission was clearly accomplished.
NEW JERSEY proved herself during that deployment. Her presence in tandem with aircraft carrier groups was significant in that it couldn't be countered. Her rounds weren't flown in by vulnerable pilots in expensive jet aircraft, and a one ton bullet could hardly be deterred from its target. Had the Syrians had the capability, conventional countermeasures against the ship would meet extreme resistance, and if not shot down, they would meet with armor over a foot thick in many places. It was generally thought that an Exocet missile of the type that split the HMS SHEFFIELD during the Falklands War, would merely bounce off the battleship armor, causing the ship to conduct 'sweepers.' While this may sound far-fetched, it does make a significant point: short of a direct nuclear hit, a battleship is likely to sustain relatively significant damage and keep operating. The history of battleships supports this.
The last cruise of NEW JERSEY included highlights as she flexed her muscle in several applications. First was her participation in PacEx '89, the largest peacetime naval operation since the World War II era. During the remainder of the cruise, NEW JERSEY was the centerpiece of battle groups or surface action groups, exercising the battleships versatility and flexibility. NEW JERSEY cruised through the India Ocean and was the first to enter and operate in the Persian Gulf. On her return, she hosted the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, change of command onboard. She returned February 25, 1990.
NEW JERSEY was decommissioned for the last time on February 8,1991 at Bremerton, Washington where she resided until heading home to New Jersey. She was officially stricken from the Navy list on February 12,1995 but was then ordered reinstated by an order of congress as a mobilization asset under Bill 1024 section 1011. On January 4, 1999 NEW JERSEY was again stricken from the Navy list and IOWA replaced her as a mobilization asset. On September 12, 1999 NEW JERSEY began her Final Voyage home from Bremerton, where she had rested in mothballs for the last 8 years. On November 11th, she arrived at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Since that time, she has been restored, opened and established as an educational museum and a tribute to the brave sailors who served on her during her long and distinguished career. The Battleship New Jersey opened as a Museum and Memorial in October 2005.
Check items you wish to purchase & then click the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page.
This page was last updated Feb 20th 2007.