The USS New Jersey was the second ship of the Iowa class of battleships built for the US Navy. The Iowas were the most powerful battleships ever built by the Navy. Of the six that were planned, four were built and served at the end of World War Two. All four of them survived the war and are museum ships around the country today.

Without a doubt, the preserved Iowa battleships are some of the most impressive American Naval museum ships. Another must-see impressive Naval museum just up the coast from New Jersey is the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York.

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The Iowa Class Battleships - The Most Powerful Of The US Navy

The Iowa Class battleships were among the most powerful built of any navy in the world. They were designed to “keep floating and keep fighting”. They were armed with powerful nine 16 inch guns that had had one of the most advanced targeting systems. They could engage targets nearly 23 miles away.

The six ships of the Iowa Class the:

  • USS New Jersey: The "Big J" And A Museum Ship In The State Of New Jersey
  • USS Wisconsin: A Museum Ship In Norfolk, Virginia And Has The Replacement Bow of the Incomplete USS Kentucky
  • USS Missouri: In Hawaii and Was The Ship On Which The Japanese Surrendered
  • USS Iowa: The Lead Ship An A Museum In Los Angeles
  • USS Illinois: Partially Built, Cancelled, Broken Up in 1958
  • USS Kentucky: Partially Built, Cancelled, The Bow Was Used To Repair the USS Wisconsin, Broken Up in 1959

Related: How To Get The Most Out Of A Historical Visit To The Pearl Harbor Museum & Memorial

The History of The USS New Jersey

The USS New Jersey managed to earn more battle stars for her combat actions than any of the other ships of the Iowa class battleships. She also went on to become the only American battleship that provided gunfire support in the Vietnam War.

  • Most: The USS New Jersey Got More Battlestars Than Any Other Iowa Class Battleship
  • Wars: She Saw Action In The Pacific Against Japan, Korean War, The Vietnam War, And The Lebanese Civil War

These battleships were extremely expensive to maintain and operate and the developments of World War Two showed that battleships were sliding into obsolesce. After the war, she was decommissioned and placed in the reserve fleet (aka in a mothball fleet).

  • Mothballed: The USS New Jersey Spent Most Of Her Time Mothballed

She was reactivated for a brief episode in the Vietnam War before returning to the mothball fleet. As part of the United State's 1980s 600-ship Navy plan, she was again reactivated and modernized to carry missiles.

  • Modernized: She Was Modernized and Reactivated As Part Of Reagan's 600-Ship Plan

Her last action was participating in the Lebanese Civil War. Unlike others in her class, she did not participate in the Gulf War and was decommissioned at the end of the Cold War in 1991.

She was finally donated and began her new career as a museum ship in 2001.

Related: This Is What's Left Of Philadelphia's Once Mighty Mothball Fleet

Overnight Stays On The USS New Jersey

Today it is possible to book overnight stays on the mighty battleship. These stays are mostly tailored to Scout troops, school groups, youth organizations, and families.

  • Groups: The Overnight Stays are For Scout Troops, School Groups, Youth Organizations, and Families

The experience is a trip back in time and a chance to see what it was like for the servicemen working onboard the battleship.

The experience is something that everyone will remember. Enjoy dinner and breakfast, take a guided tour of the massive ship, sleep in the bunk that the sailors once did, and even have a chance to fire the saluting gun.

The good news is that, while the "Overnight Encampments" had been suspended from the pandemic, they are to resume from March 2022.

  • Location: Camden Waterfront, Across From Penn's Landing Philadelphia
  • Guided Tours: On These Over Night Stays, There are Tours To Parts of The Ship Not Accessible On Regular Tours

During an overnight stay, the group will first enjoy a chowline dinner and then have a tour of BB-62’s spaces. Visitors will tour the ship’s 16-inch gun turrets and will be guided to parts of the ship that are not accessible on any regular tour routes.

The group will see the Captain’s and Admiral’s cabins, the Officer’s Wardroom, and much more while climbing up and down the ship’s original ladders and companionway.

In the morning, there's breakfast and more educational programs.

Live Like a Sailor:

  • Stow gear in a locker: The same lockers that held sailor’s personal belongings when at sea
  • Sleep in bunks: Just like enlisted sailors
  • “Chow down”: In the Crew’s Mess

They even cater for birthdays. So if it's someone's special birthday, they can even add a birthday cake for the party.

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