: USS New Jersey



Ranger
08-20-12, 10:03 PM
We had our annual reunion for the company I fought with in Viet Nam this year in PHL (Philadelphia). Took a side trip to the USS New Jersey on Saturday morning and took the tour. I can't remember all the stats, but they where amazing. I think he said that the 17" thick steel 16" gun turrets alone weighed more than the previous class of battle ship. VERY cramped quarters in that turret and it got hot rather quickly. When the ventilation fan was on it was almost impossible to hear anyone speak. The loaders position was inside another compartment that was about the size of a phone booth (if that big) with a metal seat. He's the guy that operated the hydraulic hoist that brought the 1700 lb shell up from the magazine to be loaded in the breech. Not the job for anyone that was claustrophobic. The New Jersey fired more shells during the Viet Nam war than it did in WWII.

Passage ways where small. You could get lost for weeks in the bowls of that thing. I took most of the tour bent over (I'm 6'2"). The officers quarters where not too shabby, considering where they where (even saw Admiral Halsey's quarters). They had blue carpets and no enlisted personnel where allowed anywhere there was a blue carpet. Apparently the Navy fought for democracy, they just didn't practice it.

At one point, still on the main deck level we looked down a roped off shaft with rungs on the side so someone (NOT ME!) could climb down. To where I don't know. It just disappeared into a black hole WAAAY DOWN DEEP. Just peering over the side was enough to make balls tighten up.

All in all it was a very interesting tour that gave me a new insight to the Navy and a whole new appreciation for the infantry. I don't know how you did it Sub. I'll take a foxhole any day.

hueterm
08-20-12, 10:30 PM
I've been to the USS Alabama, but I really want to see an Iowa class...when I went to Pearl Harbor, they hadn't yet docked the Missouri there...considering it had to still pound the hell out of Saddam...

orconn
08-21-12, 12:06 AM
The U S S New Jersey was operating off of I Corps in support of both Marine and Army units during the time I was attached supporting the 1st Air Cav at Camp Evans. Along with our other functions supporting NSA back at Fort Meade we were also trying out the latest and most advanced helicopter born RDF system for locating and targeting North Vietnamese significant targets. Highly classified at the time "Operation Left Bank" as this new system and the team that was deploying it was known became, despite early teething porblems (the dame chopper pilots and crew kept forgetting to retract the antennas which were hinged from the bottom of the Hughey and consequently smash the highly sensitive equipment upon landing!) "Left Bank" became one of the most successful identification and target operations during the Vietnam War.

As one of two analyst assigned (on duty with this unit from July of 1968 through November of '68) to the 371st RRU (Radio Research Unit) which was in direct support of the 1st Cav, I was responsible for the analysis and coordination of the information obtained by the aircraft surveillance, into usable targeting locations which would then be fired upon by artillery, the New Jersey (which was usually out of sight over the horizon, or B-52 "Archlight" flights which were on there way from Guam or the Phillipines. Most of the targets which we put at the highest prior were located along the Ho Chi Minh Trail which was the main supply route for arms, materials and NVA troops coming into South Vietnam. This effort, especially during the month of October 1968 was highly successful in prevent the NVA from launching what they called "The Third Offensive" (following the Tet Offensive during February of 1968). Between the concerted efforts of all the service branches involved in these operations, and a massive typhoon which hit I Corps in the middle of October of that year, the NVA forces were essentially defeated in the northern sectors of South Vietnam. We watch whole NVA Divisions retreat back over the DMZ leaving I Corps almost totally threatened. Starting in mid November of 1968 the 1st Air Cav was redeployed to the south of Vietnam to fight the Vietcong forces in that region. I was transferred to our I Corps headquarters located just south of Hue at Phu Bai where I spent the rest of my tour as a senior reporting analyst living in the luxury of air conditioned trailers on probably the most secure military installation in the northern half of South Vietnam! Four months later it was back to Cold War duties while stationed in Northern Japan.

Like Koz said of his sea duty experience in the Navy, I wouldn't trade my experience in Vietnam for anything .... but you couldn't pay me enough to do it again!

hueterm
08-21-12, 12:20 AM
I wish we'd made a couple of Montana class battleships (the Iowas' planned successor) ... but I guess carriers were in greater need...

If the New Jersey is in PHL, then I may need to go there ..to see both it and the SS United States.....

That would be a cool trip:

Bentonville
STL
USAF museum in Dayton
PHL
Biltmore mansion
Nashville
Bentonville

donwon
08-21-12, 08:31 AM
I visited the USS North Carolina in the late 80,s. I spent over 4 hours on that ship and my wife finelly had to drag me off of it kicking and screaming.
That ship had a hole like Ranger stated and it had a sign that said it was for getting supplies to the lower decks.

Submariner409
08-21-12, 10:22 AM
All in all it was a very interesting tour that gave me a new insight to the Navy and a whole new appreciation for the infantry. I don't know how you did it Sub. I'll take a foxhole any day.

I came within a gnat's whisker of coming out of USN retirement in early '83 to take over as Command Master Chief in USS IOWA (BB 61) when she was recommissioned out of Philly Shipyard. I would then have been aboard for the turret explosion. (I stayed in the Fleet Reserve, thankfully).

EcSTSatic
08-21-12, 11:12 AM
Just think, when a ship sounds General Quarters, all hatches are sealed to prevent flooding in the case of a hit. You are stuck at your station until they stand down. I didn't sign up for this as a Marine. Whenever they sounded GQ, if i could, I would run up to our squadron's shop just below the flight deck. I didn't want to be trapped down below.

Ranger
08-21-12, 11:15 AM
If the New Jersey is in PHL, then I may need to go there ..to see both it and the SS United States.....


Technically I think the USS New Jersey is in Camden. We did see the SS United States from a distance as we drove to the hotel.

Ranger
08-21-12, 11:18 AM
Just think, when a ship sounds General Quarters, all hatches are sealed to prevent flooding in the case of a hit.
Yes, they did mention that in the tour (assuming that general quarters is the same a battle stations. What do I know, I was a grunt. :noidea:).

dkozloski
08-21-12, 04:07 PM
The centerpiece of the fleet today is the aircraft carrier. The DDG I was on was called a tin can for good reason; everything from the main deck on up was aluminum and you could probably punch a hole in it with a clawhammer. The main 5" guns were automatics and just kept firing as long as you held the firing key down and the grunts in the magazines kept loading the conveyors and elevators. My GQ station was the handling room right below mount 51 and everytime the gun fired the concussion would about lift me off the deck. On long fire missions Gunner's M
ates would man fire hoses to cool the gun barrels. Our main armaments were missiles. Some were anti-aircraft, some were equipped with special fusing for surface targets, and some were anti-submarine.

Sub, we dogged the same Russian submarine for over a month and they never got away from us.

EChas3
08-21-12, 11:15 PM
I visited the USS North Carolina in the late 80,s. I spent over 4 hours on that ship and my wife finelly had to drag me off of it kicking and screaming.
That ship had a hole like Ranger stated and it had a sign that said it was for getting supplies to the lower decks.

The North Carolina is in Wilmington, in good shape and getting better as restoration continues. The wife & I had a great time in that region on vacation last year. Great people, beaches, historic waterfront, dining and more. We may well end up there again... for even longer...