The Jerseyman

A group of Big J's Volunteers pay a visit to the USS Wisconsin berthed in Norfolk, VA

Rich Thrash, Brass Team Volunteer


In the first week of October a group of volunteers from the Big J headed south to pay a visit to the USS Wisconsin. I was originally on the list to go with these guys but work commitments kept me from making the trip. Below are a bunch of photos from their visit. 


Big J volunteers that made the trip south included,
(left to right) Harry Ruhle, Bob Catando, John Stickney,
George MacCulloch and Rolland Garber. (taking photo)

Shot down the starboard side looking aft,
she looks pretty good from here.

Shot of the bow and forward brow before going onboard.

Up on the forecastle, wow look at the teak, that's amazing!

Her bell is on the opposite side of the CAGE Antenna mount.
Interesting looking winch too, I wonder if it was used to raise
 and lower flags to dress the ship. We don't have one on the Big J.

Visitors on the Wisconsin can walk all the way up to the Bull Nose.
We are currently working on making that possible on the Big J.

Shot looking aft, she really looks very fresh and clean.

Shot looking aft down the starboard side past Turret 1.

John Stickney checking out the Quarterdeck
Shack, looks like nobody was home.

Another shot on the Main Deck just aft of the Quarterdeck Shack.

Shot from the O5 level, she is in a really interesting location.

Shot of Turret 3 and part of the fuel transfer system tower.

Mount 55 displaying the USMC insignia, this mount must
 have been manned by the MARDET during gunfire operations.

Shot on the Fantail looking forward at the helipad and Turret 3.

Shot looking at the stern, teak decking looks awesome back here too.

Exhibit in the Nauticus museum depicting the weight
comparison of a Volkswagen Beetle to a 16-inch shell.

4th Annual Battleship New Jersey Golf Tournament

Brian Callahan, Reporter-at-Large


The 4th Annual Battleship New Jersey Golf Tournament was again a success!  Not only did the event raise some much needed revenue for our nation's most decorated battleship, but it also was a great time for everyone who played or came out for dinner!


Congratulations to the winning team of Brett Jolly, Chris Norton, Lou Parducci and Steve Braslow! Closest to the Pin went to Tom Martin at 2'8", and Longest Drive was from Robert Prickett.


Golfers enjoyed the challenging Sea Oaks Country Club course, took home some nice prizes and gifts, and had a  delicious dinner and lunch! Thank you to all golfers, hole sponsors, dinner attendees and prize donators!


A special thanks to our partners EMR Group, Bowman and Company, Brown & Brown, Cleaned Rite, Andreotti's, Echelon Ford, Auburn Road Vineyards, Flying Fish Brewing Co., L&M Vending, the Camden Riversharks, Adventure Aquarium, NSR Solutions, and the Battleship Dufferteers.

See you next October when we'll tee it up again for the Big J!


The venue for the 4th Annual Battleship New Jersey Golf Tournament.

The Dufferteers sponsored a hole in memory of Tom
McCorkell, a long time Battleship volunteer and truly a
great guy. This year we hope to create a recurring award
in his honor that will be given out each year at the event.

Foursome on the course enjoying the day of golf.

Another group trying to put that little white ball in the cup.

Phil found something he wanted to take home.
It looks good, but it's not a convertible buddy...

Winning team of Brett Jolly, Chris Norton,
Lou Parducci and Steve Braslow.

Fort Miles Historical Area, Lewes, Delaware

Captain Walter M. Urban, Jr. USNR (Ret.)

Lying amidst rolling dunes, in the shadow of a World War II observation tower in Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, DE is the Fort Miles Historical Area.

The Delaware River was a chief priority for defense planners during World War II, because of the access it afforded to the giant trade centers of Wilmington, Philadelphia and beyond.  Fort Miles was a key piece in the nation's coastal defense at that time. The heavy guns, mine fields and searchlights of Fort Miles provided in-depth defense; however, the growing use of long-range missiles and other modern weapons eventually brought an end to harbor defenses in the United States.

During World War II, coastal artillery batteries were located both here and across the Delaware Bay in Cape May, NJ. They included 6-, 8-, 12- and 16-inch rifles plus an assortment of smaller artillery pieces. The first gun emplacement was completed in late 1941 along with 15 observation/fire control towers (5 of which remain today) plus an elaborate fire direction center. Fort Miles was home to 2,200 personnel during its hay day in the early to mid 1940's.

The Fort Miles Historical Association (FMHA), with support from private residents and businesses in the Lewes, DE area, seized on the opportunity to acquire a 16-inch naval rifle that the U.S. Navy had offered for donation. Located 150 miles away in the Chesapeake, VA area, three 16-inch monster cannon that were originally mounted in turret II onboard USS MISSOURI (BB-63) were stored. They were onboard the historic IOWA class battleship when the "Mighty Mo" hosted the surrender ceremony on September 2, 1945  in Tokyo Bay, Japan that ended World War II.

The FMHA was awarded custody of one of those three barrels (barrel No. 371), but the expense to move it was funded largely from private donors. Transporting one of these rifles that weigh approx. 120 tons each, and measure 68 feet in length, was no small feat. The trip included both barge and rail car travel, with the final leg of the journey from Georgetown, DE to Lewes... a distance of 16.5 miles... completed by the Delaware Coast Line Rail Road.

There was a lot of excitement on April 17, 2012 as a Diesel Engine No. 4054 pulled the special flatcar carrying Barrel No. 371 to a location just outside the Cape Henlopen State Park. A brief welcoming ceremony took place behind the Lewes Public Library as the train stopped to give everyone an opportunity to see first-hand the incredible size of one of these huge rifles.

Since the rail line ended just outside the State Park, a special crane was needed to lift the barrel and it's three 2-ton each shipping saddles onto a special flat bed truck for the remainder of the trip. It now rests just inside Fort Miles less than one mile from the main entrance to the State Park.

People visiting the historic Fort can now see up close and personal this historic rifle as it rests across the road from one of several Observation Towers where lookouts once kept a constant vigil in case an enemy surface ship or submarine appeared.

The barrel has not been refurbished, but plans call for acquisition in the near future of at least one mounting cradle that held one 16-inch rifle. Several are known to be located in Dahlgren, VA... some 200 miles away. Again, the size of these cradles is immense... in excess of 200,000 lbs. each. No definite date has been set for when one of these cradles will travel to Fort Miles.

Once the cradle arrives, and it is placed in a newly constructed foundation, the refurbished barrel will be lifted into place. Visitors will get a chance to see exactly what one of these huge coastal artillery batteries looked like when they were relied on to protect the Delaware Bay from potential attack over 70 years ago.

It should be noted, the batteries at Fort Miles and in Cape May never fired a shot in anger. By 1958, Fort Miles was no longer important to the defense of the region, and in 1964, 543 acres of the base were returned to the State of Delaware, forming the heart of Cape Henlopen State Park. In April 2005, Fort Miles was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Fort Miles is a special place for families, history buffs, veterans, or anyone interested in learning about the Delaware shore and WW II. Take a tour of the Fort, enjoy an interpretive program and celebrate the "greatest generation" in our nation's history.

Please review the following links for video coverage of the movement of barrel No. 371.


Editors Note: For those of you who enjoyed this story check out the link below and view the video to learn about the Gun Barrel "Bookends" World War II Memorial located in Phoenix, AZ. It was recently dedicated on December 7, 2013 and features a 14-inch gun barrel from the Battleship Arizona and a 16-inch gun barrel from the Battleship Missouri, set up side by side representing the start and end of the war. It's a very cool video and tells the story about how the memorial came to be.


Shot of Barrel No. 371 and 16-inch
shell resting just inside Fort Miles.

Second shot of the massive gun barrel that
was once mounted onboard USS Missouri.

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Last updated on April 03, 2012.