Total Run: 902.2
Total Average Speed: 5.86 Knots
Hours From Departure: 154 Hours from Blake Island, Puget Sound
Distance To GO This Leg: 280.2 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival: 8:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 21
Present Course: 147 Degrees to Santa Barbara Channel
Winds: Light and Variable
Swells: 6 Feet from the Northwest
Barometric Pressure: 1015 Millibars
Air Temperature: 57 Degrees
Visibility: 10 Miles +
Sea Floor: USS New Jersey is passing over ocean depths within the
Monterey Canyon of between 452 and 649 Fathoms, or 2,712 and 3,894 Feet.
Position: Northern California's Point Sur lighthouse,
designed to cast its brilliant beam every 15 seconds, with visibility to 25 miles, is
clearly visible from USS New Jersey's position northwest of the landmark. To her
east is Hurricane Point, to her east-northeast is Puerta del Diablo, and to the northeast
is Carmel Bay.
The ship is still within the Monterey Bay National Marine
Sanctuary. She will also be running parallel to the charted "Sea Otter Refuge
Area," which begins at the southern point of Monterey Bay and extends a few miles
south of Point Sur.
USS New Jersey's Miss America, 1944
Atlantic City, New Jersey tonight hosts the final Miss
America Pageant of the 20th Century, an event of significance to the contestants, the
state, and a vast television audience.
In November, 55 years ago, aboard the USS New Jersey in
combat operations off Luzon in the Philippines, the crew held a beauty pageant of their
own. It wasn't televised, nor would the pageant's winner have even qualified for
tonight's Atlantic City extravaganza.
But for the Jerseymen then and now, and for the contest
winner ever since, that battleship pageant represented the best of what the USS New Jersey
has come to symbolize.
In May of 1944, while the "Black Dragon" was
anchored in Majuro in between bombing missions, two members of the ship's supply
department thought up a contest idea for the crew. They wrote to the New Jersey
state Chamber of Commerce proposing a pinup contest among girls from the state whose
pictures would be posted on the battleship's bulletin boards
The Newark Evening News published a story on May 17 about
the proposal, and more than seventy pictures ended up on the crew's boards. The beauty
contest was underway.
The father of one of the pinup contestants, Army Air
Forces pilot Lieutenant Harold Meyer of Clifton, New Jersey, had recently been shot down
over Europe, and was being held a prisoner of war. That could have influenced the
Harolyn Cheryl Meyer was the Lieutenant's daughter, one
of the 70 posted pinups, and as it turned out, the Jerseyman's overwhelming favorite in
the final vote tally five months later.
Pageant contestant and pinup girl, Harolyn Cheryl Meyer,
was a perky 5-month old baby, pictured in her birthday suit, smiling just like an Atlantic
City winner would.
After the Jerseyman in November voted 555 to 1,376 for
Harolyn, a plurality winner by 4 to 1 among all the contestants, the crew chose to pitch
in and give her a victory prize. They collected donations and gave her a silver
napkin ring, and entrusted War Bonds to her which would mature to a value of $3,200.
When infant Harolyn came of age, she used the funds to
help pay her way through New Jersey's Caldwell College, earning a degree in English in
She's now a teacher in Saratoga Springs, New York, at St.
Clement's Regional Catholic School, where she teaches 12-year olds, according to a June
28, 1999 story in New Jersey's Star-Ledger newspaper by staff writer Rudy
"I feel very honored and very flattered, but it's
all very strange because I have no memory of it," Meyer Lawton said. "I
almost look at it as if it happened to someone else."
Meyer Lawton and a fellow, if older, pinup contestant,
second runnerup Kathleen Clark Fredreck of Brielle, are expected to be part of the
ceremonies that will greet the USS New Jersey when it returns home, according to the Star
"Everyone just fell in love with this baby,"
said crew member Fred Adams of Port Orange, Florida, adding that his fellow seamen may
have been captivated by the photograph of the infant because she reminded them of home and
"There were so many good-looking women, how could
you pick one of them?" said Robert LaVine of Warren, another crew member.
"I guess everyone thought the same thing, do something unusual."
In Seattle last week, prior to New Jersey's departure on
this voyage, gunner's mate George T. Chesnut, of Kirkland, Washington, reminisced about
"We were proud of that," he said.
"We were able to send her to college, and she went on to become a teacher. "
Chestnut isn't given to easy smiles, but recalling her story brought one to his face, and
even the hint of twinkle in his eyes.
After the pageant, the Jerseymen were taken back to the
war, with all-out fighting over the Marianas Islands the following summer, and more after
As for Harolyn, she told the Star Ledger that she first
set foot aboard the USS New Jersey on May 23, 1947, when she was 3 years old.
"All of the sailors were lined up on either side and
I was supposed to walk down the middle and review them," she said. "I was
very scared. Because of the enormity of the ship and because I was so frightened, it made
"The sailors weren't supposed to be laughing,"
she added, "but they were smiling a lot, so that made me feel a little less
She was last aboard the USS New Jersey when it was
recommissioned during the Vietnam War in 1968, while runner-up Fredreck attended the third
recommissioning of the USS New Jersey in San Diego in 1982 with her late husband, Arthur,
a member of the Battleship New Jersey Historical Society.
The Star Ledger reported that Meyer Lawton's baby picture
was submitted for the pinup contest by her grandmother, Madeleine Ransley of Newark.
Meyer Lawton surmises her grandmother may have been trying to cheer up the infant's
mother, whose husband had been shot down over Germany.
"I think she did it because my mother was kind of
down in the dumps," Meyer Lawton said. "My grandmother read about the
contest and thought this might lift my mother's spirits a little."
Heather Renee French, Miss Kentucky, won tonight's
Atlantic City Pageant, but even now, the 1944 Jerseymen may still regard Sarasota Springs
teacher and former 3-month old pinup, Harolyn Meyer Lawton, as their own Miss America.
(Sources: With permission, from New Jersey's Star
Ledger newspaper of Newark, on the New Jersey News website, June 28, 1999; and,
"Battleship New Jersey: An Illustrated History," by Paul Stillwell, published by
the Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland, 1986.)
Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.