Iowa-Class Battleship USS New Jersey is Heading to Dry Dock After 34 Years

USS New Jersey Battleship
March 21, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: U.S. NavyNavyMilitaryUSS New JerseyIowa-ClassBattleships

Iowa-Class Battleship USS New Jersey is Heading to Dry Dock After 34 Years

The historic move of the USS New Jersey, an Iowa-class battleship, to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for essential maintenance, marks a significant event not seen in over three decades.


Summary: The historic move of the USS New Jersey, an Iowa-class battleship, to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for essential maintenance, marks a significant event not seen in over three decades. This meticulous journey, described as a "once in a lifetime occurrence," aims to address overdue repairs, including hull repainting, anti-corrosion system fixes, and through-hull opening inspections. The battleship, known for her distinguished service and as one of the most decorated warships in U.S. Navy history, will undergo a $10 million project in dry dock, highlighting the dedication to preserving this monumental piece of naval heritage. Scheduled to return in time for Memorial Day, this endeavor ensures the USS New Jersey remains a symbol of American resilience and history for future generations.

USS New Jersey Embarks on Historic Journey for Essential Repairs

It is a sight rarely seen today: a battleship on the move. Though the United States Navy once had quite the fleet of such behemoths, just eight remain – all preserved as museum ships. None are currently able to move on their own power, and such was the case as the Iowa-class battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) headed to the North Atlantic Ship Repair facility at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and to the very berth where it was built and subsequently launched on December 7, 1942.


This morning, she was carefully guided down the Delaware River leaving her dock in Camden, New Jersey. The first stop will be the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, where the 45,000-ton historic vessel will be balanced and prepared for dry-docking next week.

Ryan Szimanski, the battleship's lead curator called Thursday's move a " once in a lifetime occurrence," which went off without any problems.

USS New Jersey will spend about two months in the dry dock to undergo much-needed repairs to her hull. She'll be out of the water for the first time in more than three decades, which is a bit longer than what the U.S. Navy maintenance guidelines call for with inactive ships.

"Navy regulations say that museum ships like ours should be dry-docked every 20 years. We're now on year 34. So we're a little bit overdue. Luckily here in the Delaware, we're in fresh water so we're in fairly good shape," explained Marshall Spevak, CEO of Battleship New Jersey, which is charged with maintaining the historic vessel.

Three major repair projects are planned for the "Big-J" while she's in dry dock, including repainting the ship's hull, fixing the anti-corrosion system underneath the ship and inspecting through-hull openings. The $10 million project, which is expected to take about two months, will include inspection of all 1,200 of the zinc nodes that form an electrical circuit protecting the submerged portion of the hull from corrosion. About half likely will need replacement. The goal is to have the retired Iowa-class battleship back in Camden for Memorial Day and the peak tourist season.

USS New Jersey

Meet the Iowa-Class Battleship USS New Jersey

Known as the "Big J" or "Black Dragon," USS New Jersey (BB-62) also has the distinction of being one of the most decorated battleships to have served in the U.S. Navy, while she was also among the largest warships ever built. The second of the Iowa-class, like her sister vessels, she was designed as a "fast battleship" that could travel with a carrier force and take the fight to the Japanese during World War II.

USS New Jersey

Launched on December 7, 1942 – a year after the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor – the USS New Jersey was commissioned in May 1943 and began her career as the flagship of the 5th Fleet under Adm. Raymond A. Spruance.

In addition to her imposing size, the USS New Jersey earned a Guinness World Record for reaching a top speed of 35.2 knots (65.2 km/h) in 1968 and sustaining this for six hours.

USS New Jersey

Recalled to service during both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and then again in the 1980s, she was decommissioned a final time in February 1991. During her decade's long career, the battleship earned nine battle stars for her World War II service, four for the Korean War, three for the Vietnam War, and three for action in Lebanon and the Persian Gulf region.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].