Distance Of Second Leg:
September 21 - October 15 / Long Beach, CA to Balboa Anchorage, Panama:
2,948.7 Nautical Miles, the longest leg of New Jersey's homecoming voyage.
Total Average Speed Second Leg: 5.18 Knots
Distance Of First Leg: September 12 - 21 / Bremerton, WA to Long Beach,
CA: 1,193.6 Nautical Miles from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to Long Beach, CA
Total Average Speed First Leg: 5.54 Knots
The USS New Jersey remains docked at the
Balboa Port Terminal, piers 14 - 15 alone this morning, with her escort tug, Sea Victory,
having departed Pier 14 yesterday evening.
Sea Victory departed her berthing next to the Battleship
at 6:30 p.m. Sunday to transit the first two Panama Canal locks, Miraflores and Pedro
Miguel, ahead of the New Jersey. The tug will wait at Gamboa before once again
re-uniting with the Battleship after she has passed through Miraflores and Pedro Miguel
The Panama Canal Commission tugs will assist New Jersey
through the two sets of locks and deliver her to the Sea Victory on the North end of Pedro
Miguel on Tuesday, tomorrow morning.
The two vessels will then proceed together through
Galliard Cut to Gatun Lake where they will remain for the remainder of the day before
setting off for the third and final locks at Gatun on Wednesday, and then on to Cristobal
for the night before departing for the Atlantic and home.
A Day Of Tribute: The Battleship, The Canal, The
Sunday afternoon, under a brilliant Panama sun, and with
more than 200 veterans, supporters and news media representatives from New Jersey and
Panama City, Governor Christie Whitman expressed the feelings of all when she paid tribute
to the USS New Jersey for a distinguished career, and wished her well on the final leg of
her journey homeward.
The Governor was joined in the New Jersey salute by other
selected officials from her state, the U.S. Navy, the Secretary of the Army, the Panama
Canal Commission Chairman, the U.S. Ambassador's office in Panama, and Panama's Foreign
Minister in a combined salute to the Battleship and a thanks to all who helped in bringing
The officials each spoke of the values represented by the
Battleship's history, and what she offers New Jersey and future generations once she
becomes a memorial museum. This was followed by a formal news conference beside the
bow of the 887-foot vessel in which questions about the future of the Canal and the ship's
future were asked.
Following that, Governor Whitman and the principals paid
a visit to the tugboat that is towing her home. Stepping down a steeply inclined
ladder from dockside to the deck of the Sea Victory, the Governor and the others spent 30
minutes aboard the tug examining the vessel which is drawing so much curiosity as New
Jersey heads home.
They were joined on the tug by her Captain and crew, as
well as the President of Crowley Maritime Corporation, Thomas Crowley. They posed for
pictures on the tug's forward deck with the tremendous BB-62 bow and stem directly behind
them, a perfect location for everyone with a camera. From there they took a look at
the tug's working winches and tow gear on the vessel's stern, then proceeded to climb back
up the ladder to land again.
Last night, at U.S. Ambassador Louis Ferro's residence in
Panama City, more than 250 people joined together to celebrate the Battleship's passage
for the final time through the Canal beginning later this morning.
On everyone's discussion list was the excitement
anticipated in actually boarding the USS New Jersey later this morning as she is taken
through the Miraflores Locks for all to witness themselves.
It will be a memorable and cherished event, and a story
that will be talked about probably for generations to come. The final passage of an
historic American Battleship, through a wondrous Canal built nearly 100 years ago, at a
time when the people of Panama are preparing to assume complete and independent control of
its operations in less than 3 months time.
The day was filled with reflections of history, and in
everyone's mind was the fact that they are here as history is still being made. And they
are a part of it all.
Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.