Battleship New Jersey

Like every kid, I loved battleships. The USS New Jersey was the first one I saw outside the pages of a history book. The scale is hard to understand until you've walked the decks. Even seeing it at a distance doesn't show just how large these ships are. The armor plating is insanely thick. Aircraft carriers superseded the battleship and won the Pacific Theater, but I don't think they'll have the same inspirational appeal.

The USS New Jersey earned more battle stars for combat actions than the other three completed Iowa-class battleships, and fought from WW2 to the Persian Gulf. Designed in 1938. 9x 16 inch Mark 7 guns, 12x 5 inch Mark 12 guns, 32× BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, 16× RGM-84 Harpoon Anti-Ship missiles and 4× 20 mm Phalanx CIWS. It was built in Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, and is just across the river these days.

It's a beautiful ship, of a bygone era. These days, the only ship in the US Navy that sunk another vessel in anger is the USS Constitution. Which did so during the War of 1812. It's still in remarkably good shape and worth touring. The majority of the ship is available for wandering through.

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