The USS New Jersey (BB-62), an Iowa-class battleship, has been a fixture in United States naval history, being the most decorated of its peers. Nicknamed “Big J,” she has been a part of countless campaigns and conflicts.

The USS New Jersey Battleship and its Role in World War II

Since her arrival in the Western Pacific theater of operations in January 1944, USS New Jersey has been involved in numerous campaigns during World War II. Her imposing 16-inch guns were used in battles such as Saipan, Tinian, and the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Also known as the “Black Dragon,” his distinctive dark mono-color camouflage scheme set him apart during the war. Finally, in June 1945, the “bicolor” horizontal Camouflage Measure 22 was applied, and maintained until the conflict’s end.

USS New Jersey also played a crucial role in the Third Fleet’s Battle of Leyte Gulf and later in the assault on Iwo Jima and Okinawa under the command of Rear Admiral Oscar C. Badger II.

Reinstatement of the battleship in the Korean War and the Vietnam War

After World War II, USS New Jersey was decommissioned but returned to service in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. During these conflicts, she proved her worth in combat missions and bombing raids on the South Vietnamese coast.

In December 1982, the battleship was reactivated under President Ronald Reagan. This time, her modernization included the addition of 16 RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 32 BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles and Gatling guns from the CIWS Phalanx system for defense against anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft.

Even so, the USS New Jersey returned to use its iconic 16-inch guns in the Lebanon crisis of 1983-84, marking the last time these guns saw combat.

Reconnaissance and retirement of USS New Jersey

USS New Jersey accumulated nine combat stars in World War II, four in the Korean War, three in the Vietnam War, and three in actions in Lebanon and the Persian Gulf region. In addition, she received the Navy Unit Commendation, the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.

Decommissioned in 1991, the “Big J” was towed to Camden, New Jersey, where it became a museum ship in October 2001. Since then, the USS New Jersey has been carefully maintained and preserved to honor the memory of the brave men who served on board in its many missions.

The legacy of the USS New Jersey

USS New Jersey, the most decorated battleship in United States history, is a testament to the courage and sacrifice of those who served aboard during her years of service. Today, the ship continues to face the passage of time and the elements, but her legacy lives on thanks to her preservation as a museum ship.

During its long and storied career, the ship earned a reputation as one of the most formidable warships ever built and played a significant role in many of the major conflicts of the 20th century. Here are some of the key highlights of the legacy of the USS New Jersey:

World War II: During World War II, the USS New Jersey, which had its commissioning ceremony in May 1943, operating in the Pacific. The ship took part in many operations and conflicts, such as the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Battle of Okinawa, as well as the shelling of Japanese home islands.

Korean War: In 1950, as the Korean War broke out, the USS New Jersey was brought back into duty. The ship’s crew supported ground troops with artillery fire and carried out bombardment operations along the coast of Korea.

Vietnam War: In 1968, the USS New Jersey was recommissioned for participation in the Vietnam War. The ship was used for various duties, such as preventing enemy supply lines and bombarding shorelines.

Modernization and Decommissioning: The USS New Jersey had a comprehensive overhaul in the 1980s, including updating its weaponry and electronics. The vessel was permanently decommissioned in 1991 and is now housed as a museum vessel in Camden, New Jersey.

Record of Service: The USS New Jersey has been honored more than any other ship in the history of the United States Navy. There were a total of 19 battle stars awarded to the ship for its service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, among other honors.

Cultural Impact: Films like “Under Siege” and “The Sum of All Fears” include the USS New Jersey, and the ship has inspired several books and documentaries on its service and legacy.

Overall, the USS New Jersey is a testament to the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who served aboard her and to the enduring legacy of the U.S. Navy’s battleship fleet.