USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62)
The second New Jersey (BB-62) was launched 7 December 1942 by the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard; sponsored by Mrs. Charles Edison
wife of Governor Edison of New Jersey former Secretary of the Navy; and commissioned at Philadelphia 23 May 1943
Captain Carl F. Holden in command.
New Jersey completed fitting out and trained her initial crew in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean. On 7 January 1944 she passed through the Panama Canal war-bound for Funafuti
Ellice Islands. She reported there 22 January for duty with the Fifth
and three days later rendezvoused with Task Group 58.2 for the assault on the Marshall Islands. New Jersey screened the carriers from enemy attack as their aircraft flew strikes against Kwajalein and Eniwetok 29 January-2 February
g up the latter for its invasion and supporting the troops who landed 31 January.
New Jersey began her distinguished career as a flagship 4 February in Majuro Lagoon when Admiral Raymond A. Spruance
commanding the Fifth Fleet
broke his flag from her main. Her first action as a flagship was a bold two-day surface and air strike
by her task force against the supposedly impregnable Japanese fleet base on Truk in the Carolines. This blow was coordinated with the assault on Kwajalein
and effectively interdicted Japanese naval retaliation to the conquest of the Marshalls. On 17 and
18 February; the task force accounted for two Japanese light cruisers
three auxiliary cruisers
two submarine tenders
two submarine chasers
an armed trawler
a plane ferry
and 23 other auxiliaries
not including small craft. New J
ersey destroyed a trawler and
with other ships
sank destroyer Maikaze
as well as firing on an enemy plane which attacked her formation. The task force returned to the Marshalls 19 February.
Between 17 March and 10 April
New Jersey first sailed with Rear Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's flagship Lexington (CV-16) for an air and surface bombardment of Mille
then rejoined Task Group 58.2 for a strike against shipping in the Palaus
d bombarded Woleai. Upon his return to Majuro
Admiral Spruance transferred his flag to Indianapolis (CA-35).
New Jersey's next war cruise
13 April-4 May
began and ended at Majuro. She screened the carrier striking force which gave air support to the invasion of Aitape
Tanahmerah Bay and Humboldt
then bombed shipping and shor
e installations at Truk 29-30 April. New Jersey and her formation splashed two enemy torpedo bombers at Truk. Her sixteen-inch salvos pounded Ponape 1 May
destroying fuel tanks
badly damaging the airfield
and demolishing a headquarters building.
After rehearsing in the Marshalls for the invasion of the Marianas
New Jersey put to sea 6 June in the screening and bombardment group of Admiral Mitscher's Task Force. On the second day of preinvasion air strikes
New Jersey downe
d an enemy torpedo bomber
and during the next two days her heavy guns battered Saipan and Tinian
throwing steel against the beaches the marines would charge 15 June.
The Japanese response to the Marianas operation was an order to its Mobile Fleet; it must attack and annihilate the American invasion force. Shadowing American submarines tracked the Japanese fleet into the Philippine Sea as Admiral Spruance joined his ta
sk force with Admiral Mitscher's to meet the enemy. New Jersey took station in the protective screen around the carriers on 19 June as American and Japanese pilots dueled in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. That day and the next were to pronounce
the doom of Japanese naval aviation; in this "Marianas Turkey Shoot
" the Japanese lost some 400 planes. This loss of trained pilots and aircraft was equaled in disaster by the sinking of three Japanese carriers by submarines and aircraft
and the damagin
g of two carriers and a battleship. The anti- aircraft fire of New Jersey and the other screening ships proved virtually impenetrable. Only two American ships were damaged
and those but slightly. In this overwhelming victory but 17 American planes
were lost to combat.
New Jersey's final contribution to the conquest of the Marianas was in strikes on Guam and the Palaus from which she sailed for Pearl Harbor
arriving 9 August. Here she broke the flag of Admiral William F. Halsey
of the Third Fleet. For the eight months after she sailed from Pearl Harbor 30 August New Jersey was based at Ulithi. In this climactic span of the Pacific War
fast carrier task forces ranged the waters off the Philippines
striking again and again at airfields
invasion beaches. New Jersey offered the essential protection required by these forces
always ready to repel enemy air or surface attack.
In September the targets were in the Visayas and the southern Philippines
then Manila and Cavite
and Cebu. Early in October raids to destroy enemy air power based on Okinawa and Formosa were begun in preparation for the Leyte landi
ngs 20 October.
This invasion brought on the desperate
last great sortie of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Its plan for the Battle for Leyte Gulf included a feint by a northern force of planeless heavy attack carriers to draw away the battleships
and fast carriers with which Admiral Halsey was protecting the landings. This was to allow the Japanese Center Force to enter the gulf through San Bernadino Strait. At the opening of the battle planes from the carriers guarded by New Jersey struck
hard at both the Japanese Southern and Center Forces
sinking a battleship 23 October. The next day Halsey shaped his course north after the decoy force had been spotted. Planes from his carriers sank four of the Japanese carriers
as well as a destroyer
and a cruiser
while New Jersey steamed south at flank speed to meet the newly developed threat of the Center force. It had been turned back in a stunning defeat when she arrived.
New Jersey rejoined her fast carriers near San Bernadino 27 October for strikes on central and southern Luzon. Two days later
the force was under suicide attack. In a melee of anti- aircraft fire from the ships and combat air patrol
shot down a plane whose pilot maneuvered it into Intrepid's (CV- 11) port gun galleries
while machine gun fire from Intrepid wounded three of New Jersey's men. During a similar action 25 November three Japanese planes were splas
hed by the combined fire of the force
part of one flaming onto Hancock's (CV-19) flight deck. Intrepid was again attacked
shot down one would-be suicide
but was crashed by another despite hits scored on the attacker by New Jersey g
unners. New Jersey shot down a plane diving on Cabot (CVL-28) and hit another which smashed into Cabot's port bow.
New Jersey sailed with the Lexington task group for air attacks on Luzon 14-16 December; then found herself in the furious typhoon which sank three destroyers. Skillful seamanship brought her through undamaged. She returned to U
lithi on Christmas Eve to be met by Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
New Jersey ranged far and wide from 30 December to 25 January 1945 on her last cruise as Admiral Halsey's flagship. She guarded the carriers in their strikes on Formosa
on the coast of Indo-China
Swatow and Amoy
d again on Formosa and Okinawa. At Ulithi 27 January Admiral Halsey lowered his flag in New Jersey
but it was replaced two days later by that of Rear Admiral Oscar Badger commanding Battleship Division Seven.
In support of the assault on Iwo Jima
New Jersey screened the Essex (CV-9) group in air attacks on the island 19-21 February
and gave the same crucial service for the first major carrier raid on Tokyo 25 February
a raid aimed specifically
at aircraft production. During the next two days
Okinawa was attacked from the air by the same striking force.
New Jersey was directly engaged in the conquest of Okinawa from 14 March until 16 April. As the carriers prepared for the invasion with strikes there and on Honshu
New Jersey fought off air raids
used her seaplanes to rescue downed pilots
defended the carriers from suicide planes
shooting down at least three and assisting in the destruction of others. On 24 March she again carried out the vital battleship role of heavy bombardment
preparing the invasion beaches for the assault a week la
During the final months of the war
New Jersey was overhauled at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
from which she sailed 4 July for San Pedro
and Eniwetok bound for Guam. Here on 14 August she once again became flagship of the Fifth Fleet
under Admiral Spruance. Brief stays at Manila and Okinawa preceded her arrival in Tokyo Bay 17 September
where she served as flagship for the successive commanders of Naval Forces in Japanese waters until relieved 28 January 1946 by Iowa (BB-61).
New Jersey took aboard nearly a thousand homeward-bound troops with whom she arrived at San Francisco 10 February.
After west coast operations and a normal overhaul at Puget Sound
New Jersey's keel once more cut the Atlantic as she came home to Bayonne
for a rousing fourth birthday part 23 May 1947. Present were Governor Alfred E. Driscoll
former Governor Walter E. Edge and other dignitaries.
Between 7 June and 26 August
New Jersey formed part of the first training squadron to cruise Northern European waters since the beginning of World War II. Over two thousand Naval Academy and NROTC midshipmen received sea-going experience under the
command of Admiral Richard L. Connoly
Commander Naval Forces Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean
who broke his flag in New Jersey at Rosyth
Scotland 23 June. She was the scene of official receptions at Oslo
where King Haakon VII of Norway inspe
cted the crew 2 July
and at Portsmouth
England. The training fleet was westward bound 18 July for exercises in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic.
After serving at New York as flagship for Rear Admiral Heber H. McClean
Battleship Division One
12 September-18 October
New Jersey was inactivated at the New York Naval Shipyard. She was decommissioned at Bayonne 30 June 1948 and assi
gned to the New York Group
Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
New Jersey was recommissioned at Bayonne 21 November 1950
Captain David M. Tyree in command. In the Caribbean she welded her crew into an efficient body which would meet with distinction the demanding requirements of the Korean War. She sailed fro
m Norfolk 16 April 1951 and arrived from Japan off the east coast of Korea 17 May. Vice Admiral Harold M. Martin
commanding the Seventh Fleet. placed his flag in New Jersey for the next six months.
New Jersey's guns opened the first shore bombardment of her Korean carrier at Wonsan 20 May. During her two tours of duty in Korean waters
she was again and again to play the part of seaborne mobile artillery. In direct support to United Nations t
roops; or in preparation for ground actions
in interdicting Communist supply and communication routes
or in destroying supplies and troop positions
New Jersey hurled a weight of steel
fire far beyond the capacity of land artillery
y and free from major attack from one target to another
and at the same time could be immediately available to guard aircraft carriers should they require her protection. It was on this first such mission at Wonsan that she received her only combat casua
lties of the Korean War. One of her men was killed and two severely wounded when she took a hit from a shore battery on her number one turret and received a near miss aft to port.
Between 23 and 27 May and again 30 May
New Jersey pounded targets near Yangyang and Kansong
dispersing troop concentrations
dropping a bridge span
and destroying three large ammunition dumps. Air spotters reported Yangyang abandoned at the end
of this action
while railroad facilities and vehicles were smashed at Kansong. On 24 May
she lost one of her helicopters when its crew pushed to the limit of their fuel searching for a downed aviator. They themselves were able to reach friendly territor
y and were later returned to their ship.
With Admiral Arthur W. Radford
Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet
and Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy
Commander Naval Forces Far East aboard
New Jersey bombarded targets at Wonsan 4 June. At Kansong two days later she fired her main battery at an arti
llery regiment and truck encampment
with Seventh Fleet aircraft spotting targets and reporting successes. On 28 July off Wonsan the battleship was again taken under fire by shore batteries. Several near misses splashed to port
but New Jersey's pr
ecision fire silenced the enemy and destroyed several gun emplacements.
Between 4 and 12 July
New Jersey supported a United Nations push in the Kansong area
firing at enemy buildup and reorganization positions. As the
Republic of Korea's First Division hurled itself on the enemy
shore fire control observers saw
New Jersey's salvos hit directly on enemy mortar emplacements
supply and ammunition dumps
and personnel concentrations. New Jersey returned to Wonsan 18 July for an exhibition of perfect firing: five gun emplacements demolished with five dire
New Jersey sailed to the aid of troops of the Republic of Korea once more 17 August
returning to the Kansong area where for four days she provided harassing fire by night
and broke up counterattacks by day
inflicting a heavy toll on enemy troops
. She returned to this general area yet again 29 August
when she fired in an amphibious demonstration staged behind enemy lines to ease pressure on the Republic of Korea's troops. The next day she an a three-day saturation of the Changjon area
of her own helicopters spotting the results: four buildings; destroyed
road junctions smashed
railroad marshaling yards afire
tracks cut and uprooted
coal stocks scattered
many buildings and warehouses set blazing.
Aside from a brief break in firing 23 September to take aboard wounded from the Korean frigate Apnok (PF-62)
damaged by gunfire
New Jersey was heavily engaged in bombarding the Kansong area
supporting the movement of the U.S. Tenth Corps.
. The pattern again was harassing fire by night
destruction of known targets by day. Enemy movement was restricted by the fire of her big guns. A bridge
several gun emplacements
an two ammunition dumps were
On 1 October
General Omar Bradley
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs; of Staff
and General Matthew B. Ridgeway
Commander in Chief Far East
came on board to confer with Admiral Martin.
Between 1 and 6 October New Jersey was in action daily at Kansong
and Songjin. Enemy bunkers and supply concentrations provided the majority of the targets at Kansong; at the others New Jersey fired on railroads
an oil refinery
and shore batteries destroying with five-inch fire a gun that straddled her. The Kojo area was her target 16 October as she sailed in company with HMS Belfast
pilots from HMAS Sydney spotting. The
operation was well-planned and coordinated ad excellent results were obtained.
Another highly satisfactory day was 16 October
when the spotter over the Kansong area reported "beautiful shooting every shot on target-most beautiful shooting I have seen in five years." This five hour bombardment leveled ten artillery positions
smashing trenches and bunkers inflicted some 500 casualties.
New Jersey dashed up the North Korean coast raiding transportation facilities from 1 to 6 November. She struck at bridges
road and rail installations at Wonsan
and left smoking behind her four bridg
others badly damaged
two marshaling yards badly torn up
and many feet of track destroyed. With renewed attacks on Kansong and near the Chang-San-Got Peninsula 11 and 13 November
New Jersey completed this tour of duty.
Relieved as flagship by Wisconsin (BB-64)
New Jersey cleared Yokosuka for Hawaii
Long Beach and the Panama Canal
and returned to Norfolk 20 December for a six-month overhaul. Between 19 July 1952 and 5 September
she sailed as flagship fo
r Rear Admiral H. R. Thurber
who commanded the NROTC midshipman training cruise to Cherbourg
and the Caribbean. Now New Jersey prepared and trained for her second Korean tour
for which she sailed from Norfolk 5 March 1953.
Shaping her course via the Panama Canal
New Jersey reached Yokosuka 5 April
and next day relived Missouri (BB-63) as flagship of Vice Admiral Joseph H. Clark
Commander Seventh Fleet. Chongjin felt the weight of her
shells 12 April
as New Jersey returned to action; in seven minutes she scored seven direct hits
blowing away half the main communications building there. At Pusan two days later
New Jersey manned her rails to welcome the President of the
Republic of Korea and Madame Rhee
and American Ambassador Ellis O. Briggs.
New Jersey fired on coastal batteries and buildings at Kojo 16 April; on railway track and tunnels near Hungnam 18 April; and on gun emplacements around Wonsan Harbor 20 April
silencing them in five areas after she had herself take several near mi
sses. Songjin provided targets 23 April. Her New Jersey scored six direct 16-inch hits on a railroad tunnel and knocked out two rail bridges.
New Jersey added her muscle to a major air and surface strike on Wonsan 1 May
as Seventh Fleet planes both attacked the enemy and spotted for the battleship. She knocked out eleven Communist shore guns that day
and four days later destroyed the k
ey observation post on the island of Hodo Pando
commanding the harbor. Two days later Kalmagak at Wonsan was her target.
Her tenth birthday
was celebrated at Inchon with President and Madame Rhee
Lieutenant General Maxwell D. Taylor
and other dignitaries on board. Two days later New Jersey was all war once more
returning to the west coast at Chinampo to k
nock out harbor defense positions.
The battleship was under fire at Wonsan 27-29 May
but her five- inch guns silenced the counter-fire
and her 16-inch shells destroyed five gun emplacements and four gun caves. She also hit a target that flamed spectacularly: either a fuel storage area or
an ammunition dump.
New Jersey returned to the key task of direct support to troops at Kosong 7 June. On her first mission
she completely destroyed two gun positions
an observation post
and their supporting trenches
then stood by on call for further aid. Then it w
as back to Wonsan for a day-long bombardment 24 June
aimed at guns placed in caves. The results were excellent
with eight direct hits on three caves
one cave demolished
and four others closed. Next day she returned to troop support at Kosong
gnment until 10 July
aside from necessary withdrawal for replenishment.
At Wonsan 11-12 July
New Jersey fired one of the most concentrated bombardments of her Korean duty. For nine hours the first day
and for seven the second
her guns slammed away on gun positions and bunkers on Hodo Pando and the mainland with tell
ing effect. At least ten enemy guns were destroyed
and a number of caves and tunnels sealed. New Jersey smashed radar control positions and bridges at Kojo 13 July
and was once more on the east coast bombline 22-24 July to support S
outh Korean troops near Kosong. These days found her gunners at their most accurate and the devastation wrought was impressive. A large cave
housing an important enemy observation post was closed
the end of a month-long United Nations effort. A great ma
tanks and other weapons were destroyed.
At sunrise 25 July New Jersey was off the key port
rail and communications center of Hungnam
pounding coastal guns
a factor area
and oil storage tanks. She sailed north that afternoon
firing at rail lines and railroad tunnels as she m
ade for Tanchon
where she launched a whaleboat in an attempt to spot a train known to run nightly along the coast. Her big guns were trained on two tunnels between which she hoped to catch the train
but in the darkness she could not see the results of h
er six-gun salvo.
New Jersey's mission at Wonsan
was her last. Here she destroyed large-caliber guns
caves and trenches. Two days later
she learned of the truce. Her crew celebrated during a seven day visit at Hong Kong
where she anchored 20
August. Operations around Japan and off Formosa were carried out for the remainder of her tour
which was highlighted by a visit to Pusan. Here President Rhee came aboard 16 September to present the Korean Presidential Unit Citation to the Seventh fleet.
Relieved as flagship at Yokosuka by Wisconsin 14 October
New Jersey was homeward bound the next day
reaching Norfolk 14 November. During
the next two summers she crossed the Atlantic with midshipmen on board for training
and during the r
est of the year sharpened her skills with exercises and training maneuvers along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean.
New Jersey stood out of Norfolk 7 September 1955 for her first tour of duty with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Her ports of call included Gibraltar
Suda Bay; and Barcelona. She returned to Norfolk 7 January 1956
for the spring program of training operations. That summer she again carried midshipmen to Northern Europe for training
bringing them home to Annapolis 31 July. New Jersey sailed for Europe once more 27 August as flagship of Vice Admiral Charles
Commander Second Fleet. She called at Lisbon
participated in NATO exercises off Scotland
and paid an official visit to Norway where Crown Prince Olaf was a guest. She returned to Norfolk 15 October
and 14 December arrived at New York Nav
al Shipyard for inactivation. She was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Bayonne 21 August 1957.
New Jersey's third career began 6 April 1968 when she recommissioned at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Captain J. Edward Snyder in command. Fitted with improved electronics and a helicopter landing pad and with her 40-millimeter battery removed
was tailored for use as a heavy bombardment ship. Her 16-inch guns
it was expected
would reach targets in Vietnam inaccessible to smaller naval guns and
in foul weather
safe from aerial attack.
now the world's only active battleship
departed Philadelphia 16 May
calling at Norfolk and transiting the Panama Canal before arriving at her new home port of Long Beach
11 June. Further training off Southern California f
ollowed. On 24 July New Jersey received 16-inch shells and powder tanks from Mount Katmai (AE-16) by conventional highline transfer and by helicopter lift
the first time heavy battleship ammunition had been transferred by helicopter
Departing Long Beach 3 September
New Jersey touched at Pearl Harbor and Subic Bay before sailing 25 September for her first tour of gunfire support duty along the Vietnamese coast. Near the 17th Parallel on 30 September
the dreadnought fired her
first shots in battle in over sixteen years. Firing against Communist targets in and near the so-called Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
her big guns destroyed two gun positions and two supply areas. She fired against targets north of the DMZ the following day
rescuing the crew of a spotting plane forced down at sea by antiaircraft fire.
The next six months self into a steady pace of bombardment and fire support missions along the Vietnamese coast
broken only by brief visits to Subic Bay and replenishment operations at sea. In her first two months on the gun line
New Jersey direc
ted nearly ten thousand rounds of ammunition at Communist targets; over: 3
000 of these shells were 16-inch projectiles.
Her first Vietnam combat tour completed
New Jersey departed Subic Bay 3 April 1969 for Japan. She arrived at Yokosuka for a two-day visit
sailing for the United States 9 April. Her homecoming
was to be delayed. On the 15th
Jersey was still at sea
North Korean jet fighters shot down an unarmed EC-121 "Constellation" electronic surveillance plane over the Sea of Japan
killing its entire crew. A carrier task force was formed and sent to the Sea of Japan
while New Je
rsey was ordered to come about and steam toward Japan. On the 22nd she arrived once more at Yokosuka
and immediately put to sea in readiness for what might befall. As the crisis lessened
New Jersey was released to continue her interrupted voy
age. She anchored at Long Beach 5 May 1969
her first visit to her home port in eight months. Through the summer months
New Jersey's crew toiled to make her ready for another deployment. Deficiencies discovered on the gun line were remedied
l hands looked forward to another opportunity to prove the mighty warship's worth in combat. Reasons of economy were to dictate otherwise. On 22 August 1969 the Secretary of Defense released a list of names of ships to be inactivated; at the top of the li
st was New Jersey. Five days later
Captain Snyder was relieved of command by Captain Robert C. Peniston.
Assuming command of a ship already earmarked for the "mothball fleet
" Captain Peniston and his crew prepared for their melancholy task. New Jersey got underway on her last voyage 6 September
departing Long Beach for Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Sh
e arrived on the 8th
and began pre-inactivation overhaul to ready herself for decommissioning. On 17 December 1969 New Jersey's colors were hauled down and she entered the inactive fleet
still echoing the words of her last commanding officer: "Re
yet sleep lightly; and hear the call
if again sounded
to provide fire power for freedom." New Jersey earned the Navy Unit Commendation for Vietnam service. She has received nine battle stars for World War II; four for the Korean conflict
; and two for Vietnam.
[Note: The above USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]