Journal Entry  -  October 22, 1999  -  Day 41

Friday Morning Position Report
8:00 a.m., Central Daylight Time
Latitude:

11 Degrees, 20 Minutes North

Longitude:

80 Degrees, 09 Minutes West

Days Run:

71.8 Nautical Miles

Speed:

5.98 Knots (Average) running to meet a fixed ETA.

Total Average Speed:  5.75 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  20.3 Hours
Distance To Go This Leg:  1,979.8 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  3:00 p.m., Saturday, November 6, Cape Henlopen Sea Buoy, at the mouth of the Delaware River.
Present Course:  353 Degrees Northerly
Winds:  East-Northeast at 10 Knots
Seas:  2 Feet
Swells:  4 Feet from the Northeast
Barometric Pressure:  1011 Millibars
Air Temperature:  78 Degrees
Sea Temperature:  81 Degrees
Visibility:  10 Miles
Skies:  Broken and Heavy Rain Showers
Sea Floor:  Ocean depths beneath the USS New Jersey at this point are 3,273 Meters, or 12,213 Feet

Panama Canal Transit:  October 16 - 21 / Balboa Pier 14 - 15, Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, the Gaillard Cut, Gamboa, Lake Gatun, and the Gatun Locks, and Cristobal.  USS New Jersey's clearance into the Caribbean Sea / Atlantic Ocean was completed at 11:34 a.m., and her mark for the commencement of the Cristobal, Panama - Philadelphia, PA Third Leg was passed at 11:42 a.m., Thursday, October 21.

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 anchorage.
Total Average Speed First Leg:  5.54 Knots

Position:  USS New Jersey is definitely in the high-volume traffic corridor between the Gulf of Mexico and the Panama Canal.  There have been continuous sightings of large capacity ships passing primarily to the Battleship's West, off her port beam, between her and Nicaragua's eastern coast at this point.  The Caribbean coastline border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica is just South of New Jersey''s latitude here.

Fish Catch:  The lines are out again.

USS New Jersey Shows The Flag ...

Through her career of four wars and conflicts, through commissionings, decommissionings, and recommissionings, through her service to the midshipmen (and ladies) of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, when they were taken aboard for extended training cruises, many times the Grand Lady of Battleships would serve as official ambassador and visiting dignitary across the seas.

In the summer and fall of 1988, the New Jersey made one of those extended visits to foreign ports of call.  Her mighty guns and ready sailors weren't preparing for battle, just paying a respectful visit to friends to show them some of America's best Naval resources.  In return, the welcome mat was usually spread out for her with nothing to spare.

That year, she stopped in Korea, the Philippines, Freemantle and Perth, also Albany, Brisbane, and Sydney, Australia for just such purposes.

Thirty-three years earlier, New Jersey and her crew in 1955 departed Norfolk, Virginia to make her first tour of duty with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, with ports of call in Gibraltar, Valencia, Cannes, Istanbul, Suda Bay and Barcelona.  Official receptions with local and national dignitaries were undoubtedly a large part of her crews' duties.

The following year, in 1956, she took aboard the midshipmen from Annapolis and headed out for training cruises and NATO exercises as the flagship of Vice Admiral Charles Wellborn, Jr., Commander Second Fleet, and in tactical command of a striking force en route to Lisbon, Portugal, then to Greenock, Scotland, and Oslo, Norway.

In Oslo, on November 3, 1956, USS New Jersey was hostess to some 200 distinguished guests, including His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince of Norway, and Vice Admiral Jacobsen, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy.

Those must have been heady times for everyone involved - the Jerseymen who were serving as official greeters to royalty, the Norwegians who were witnessing this splendid naval Battleship for the first time, and the New Jersey's Commanders who probably felt as splendid as their ship at the special royal occasion.

USS New Jersey's flag carrier role, though, did not really end with her 1991decommissioning.  In fact, as recently as last weekend, in one of those foreign ports of call, she again managed to lift the hearts and spirits of many people who gathered to pay tribute to her, for what she has meant to the nation for 57 years, and for what she will mean to the state and people of New Jersey, and across the land, when she finally comes home in November.

(To Be Continued ...)

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.

 

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