Journal Entry  -  September 19, 1999  -  Day 8

Sunday Morning Position Report
8:00 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time
Latitude: 35 Degrees, 32 Minutes North
Longitude: 121 Degrees, 38 Minutes West
Days Run: 60.7 Nautical Miles
Speed: 5.06 Knots (Average)

Total Run:  962.9 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  5.8 Knots
Hours From Departure:  166 Hours or 6.9 Days from Blake Island, Puget Sound
Distance To Go This Leg:  219.5 Nautical Miles to Long Beach for re-fueling
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  8:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 21
Present Course:  147 Degrees, Southeast by South
Winds:  East-Northeast at 5 Knots
Seas:  Rippled
Swells:  6 Feet from the Northwest
Barometric Pressure:  1016 Millibars
Air Temperature:  56 Degrees
Visibility:  10 Miles
Skies:  Overcast
Sea Floor:  USS New Jersey remains within the boundaries of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and charts display her presence now in the area of the Pacific Missile Range.  Increasing whale activity has been spotted.

Position:  USS New Jersey is now 19 Nautical Miles West-Southwest of Point Piedras Blancas (White Rocks), and beyond that shore point is William Randolph Hearst's San Simeon Castle, a few miles away from 3,594-foot Mt. Pine.   At this location, no land is visible.

Long Beach - "Big J's" Pacific Homeport

For more than half of USS New Jersey's commissioned career of some 21 years, she called the Long Beach Naval Station her homeport.

She first reached her newly assigned southern California naval station on June 11, 1968, after departing from Philadelphia a month earlier.   By September 3, she was headed west to Vietnam, not to return to Long Beach for eight months, in May, 1969.  Three months later, she was declared inactive by the Secretary of Defense and taken to Puget Sound..

Then, in August, 1981, she arrived in Long Beach once more for a modernization upgrade, after which she spent three months on sea trials which she passed with flying colors.  In December, 1982, USS New Jersey was re-commissioned there by President Reagan.

"The Bamboo Cage Preventer, "BB-62 participated in operational tests and west coast port visits to San Diego and San Francisco between January and April, 1983, and in May, became the first surface ship to fire a Tomahawk cruise missile successfully .

In June and July of 1983, she engaged in a three-month shakedown cruise in the Western Pacific, until she was called east to Central America, ordered through the Panama Canal, and directed to make high speed for Lebanon in September.

From then through April, 1984, she was attached to the Navy's Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, but after 331 days deployed there with the Atlantic forces, she returned home to Long Beach to a rousing, heroes' welcome on May 5, 1984.

Five months of "Post Shakedown Availability" at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard followed her homecoming.  Her number-two turret's center gun was replaced, the first such gun change out since her Korean war combat.

In January, 1985, she passed her final contract trials, and spent the next two years in training exercises, hosting visitations, and even serving as a Hollywood stage for "War and Remembrance."  She opened the New Year of 1988 at Long Beach moored next to her classmate, the USS Missouri.

From 1988 to 1990 New Jersey remained homeported at Long Beach, while cruising the Pacific and Indian oceans, and passing through the Straits of Hormuz to enter the Persian Gulf in December, 1989, the first time a battleship had ever made that transit.  The USS Missouri and Wisconsin would follow her precedent during Desert Storm two years later.

By New Year's Day, 1991, USS New Jersey would be in the final stages of de-activation.  Her exit from active duty came on February 8, 1991 when she was formally decommissioned at Pier Echo, Naval Station Long Beach.

Early this week, she will return again to Long Beach.   This time she'll be a visitor passing through.

Those who see her anchored in Long Beach Harbor, however, may remember her from years past.  Some will have served with her.  Those that didn't may still know, just by the way she carries herself, that her stately presence there Tuesday carries with it a nation's soul.

Such essentials reside in us all.  There, each of us is her homeport.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.

 

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Line Drawing of Big J

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