Pacific Stars and Stripes information

For date 680114

USS NEW JERSEY was a US Navy unit
Primary service involved, US Navy
South Vietnam
Description: The following is an edited version of an article titled "BB-62 WON'T BE SHOOTING BB'S! Mighty New Jersey to fire devastating 16-inchers at Reds" by Lee Linder. THE BATTLESHIP NEW JERSEY, put to sleep more than a decade ago, is shedding its cocoon as a member of the mothball fleet. The giant dreadnought is being refitted and reconditioned in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and should be in action off Vietnam next Spring. Modern warfare with its supersonic jets and radar-controlled missiles notwithstanding, the Navy now sees the battleship's 16-inch guns as perhaps one of the war's most feared and devastating weapons. The biggest U.S. naval guns off Vietnam now are eight-inchers on the 7th Fleet's cruisers. But is a battleship a sitting duck in the sea? Will it be a floating target for enemy planes? Jane's Fighting Ships, the book regarded as the world authority on navy vessels, recently observed that "however reputedly unsinkable a battleship might be, it would be a matter of prestige for the enemy to make her the prime target and, if successful in scoring a bullseye, of immense propaganda value." But Capt. Richard G. Alexander, the New Jersey's commander, shrugs off suggestions the battleship-sidelined for more than 10 years - would be more a liability than an asset in the Orient. He insists there will be adequate protection from aircraft and surface vessels. The 45,000 ton ship - BB-62 to the Navy - will bring nine 16-inch guns to the Gulf of Tonkin, each capable of hurling a one-ton shell more than 22 miles. And that, frankly, is the only reason the fighting battle wagon is being recommissioned at a cost of $22 million. Many consider the price a bargain equal to about nine fighter-bombers. Pound for pound the New Jersey will be able to deliver explosives for considerably less price than the Air Force. Seven broadsides Navy men say, carry a punch equal to the total bomb loads of 60 planes. Annual operating cost of the New Jersey is figured at $7.5 million, including ammunition. It is estimated that about 22,000 tons of the 16-inch projectiles were left over from Korea. It is true, says Cdr. Donald Roane, weapons officer of the New Jersey, that there are a few sailors still in uniform who have served on a U.S. battleship he himself only took a training cruise - because the four in America's fleet have been in mothballs for 10 years or longer. Actually, Roane reports, there are 15 men now available who have fired the giant guns - they have 65 foot barrels and are imbedded in a concrete-and steel foundation sunk 50 feet into the ship's keel. "We know hat has to be done and we will do it," he said. "We'll be ready when we have to be ready. You can bet on it." "Ready" for the New Jersey means next May 15 when it is scheduled to move into the Delaware River--after earlier sea trials-and then to the Atlantic for the voyage to Vietnam waters (Associated Press). Photo Captions (1) - The giant 16-inch guns of the New Jersey have been plugged for the past 10 years in the mothball fleet at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The decision to put the ship back into action, after having been retired in August, 1957, was made after a five-month Defense Department study. Photo-Caption (2) - The huge 16-stories-tall battleship lifts its bow to the sky in a photo at the right (AP). Photo-Caption (3) - Called back to war duty, the battleship New Jersey (right) is being preened and primed to do battle for the third time. The recommissioned battlewagon will bring her giant 16-inch guns to Vietnam in May to see her first action in more than 10 years. It's hoped the extra fire-power from offshore will help save U.S. lives and dollars. There are more than 1,000 men now swarming over her decks and insides to bring her to fighting shape. Bulk of the money being spent on her is improvement of the New Jersey's armament. (USN).

The source for this information was 6801pss.avn supplied by Les Hines

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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021