The Most Decorated Battleship in U.S. History Gets an Overdue Face-Lift

The most decorated battleship in the history of the United States is done with war.

The engines of the vessel, the Battleship New Jersey, are no longer permitted to operate, by order of the U.S. Navy.

But on a windy afternoon in March, tugboats pushed and pulled the ship away from land for the first time in more than 20 years. It left its berth in Camden, N.J., en route to Philadelphia, where it was guided into dry dock to undergo two months of repairs that can only be completed out of water.

Muriel Smith was there to watch.

“You’ll get me crying,” Ms. Smith, 87, said, describing the emotions she felt as a mammoth American flag was hoisted aloft during the shifting of colors before the Battleship New Jersey left the dock on March 21. Ms. Smith, a writer who lives in New Jersey, was on hand in 1999, too, when the ship made its way through the Panama Canal, headed toward its new career as a museum and memorial.

Edward Hassler, 90, was a Navy radioman on the U.S.S. Radford, part of an underwater demolition team that delivered messages to other ships, including the New Jersey.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Mike Fitz raises the battleship’s flag in Camden, N.J., before the departure ceremony.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Tugboats moved the Battleship New Jersey under the Walt Whitman Bridge.CreditCredit…By Erin Schaff/the New York Times

Finley Tyson and Rona Graves watch the Battleship New Jersey prepare for departure in Camden, N.J.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Anthony Mangone, a Navy veteran who served on ship.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
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