BATTLESHIP CELEBRATES 70TH ANNIVERSARY
OF HER COMMISSIONING
Governors, Tiffany Silver, Former Crewmembers, 5-inch Gun Fire and Cake Part of Ceremony
May 21, 2013 – Camden Waterfront, NJ -- The Battleship New Jersey Museum and
Memorial will celebrate the 70th anniversary of her commissioning into the United
States Navy with a ceremony on her forecastle at 11am on Thursday, May 23.
Highlights of the ceremony will include remarks by former New Jersey Governors James
J. Florio and Christine Todd Whitman, both of whom were instrumental in securing the
Battleship New Jersey as a museum and memorial on the Camden Waterfront. Both
governors are also Honorary Trustees of the Home Port Alliance for the USS New
“To have both governors present at this ceremony is truly an honor,” said Phil Rowan,
Executive Director of the Battleship New Jersey. “The process of applying for the
berth of the Battleship began many years ago and if not for the support of both these
governors, she would not be docked at the Camden Waterfront and available for the
thousands of guests to tour her and learn about her amazing history.”
Also planned for the 70th Anniversary Ceremony will be remarks from crew members
who served aboard the Big J in the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s and 1980’s. The ceremony
will also feature the reading of Gov. Charles Edison’s speech during the launch of the
USS New Jersey from Philadelphia Navy Yard on Dec. 7, 1942 by John P. Keegan,
President of the Edison Foundation. Mr. Keegan will also bring and display the sterling
silver champagne bottle case that was used to christen the USS New Jersey by Gov. Edison’s wife in 1942,
The Battleship will also have on display several pieces of the Tiffany Silverware, on
loan from the New Jersey Governor’s mansion. The Presentation Silver Service will be
available for inspection by guests attending the ceremonyin the Captain’s In-Port Cabin.
The silver presentation, made possible by the US Navy, the Drumthwacket Foundation, and Governor Chris Christie and wife, will be included for a limited time for guests to experience as part of a Battleship tour.
The ceremony will end with the playing of Kate Smith’s “God Bless America,” the firing
of the portside 5-inch gun and cake for all guests! Live patriotic music for the ceremony will be performed by the Patriot Brass Ensemble and colors will be presented by the United States Marines Honor Guard.
The ceremony is free for all guests to attend.
Located on the Delaware River, along the Camden Waterfront across from the City of
Philadelphia, the Battleship is open every day for tours from 9:30am to 5pm. Explore
the new Turret II Experience! Hoist projectiles, load powder bags, plot afiring solution,
even pull the trigger and fire these legendary guns! Guided Turret II tours launch
Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and 1pm. To purchase tickets, visit
Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:30 am | Updated: 11:53 am, Thu May 16, 2013.
Posted on May 16, 2013
PRINCETON — Pieces of the USS New Jersey’s silver service will ship out soon from the official home of Gov. Chris Christie for a visit to their former haunt aboard the historic battleship.
They are expected to arrive just in time to help the battleship celebrate the 70th anniversary of its commissioning May 23.
“We’re very pleased. We’re very excited,” said Philip Rowan, president and CEO of the battleship, after visiting Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion, on Wednesday to make arrangements for moving the silver to the ship berthed on the waterfront in Camden.
Rowan said he was waiting for the contract he signed with the Navy for the silver exhibition to be finalized.
The Navy still owns the collection, even though it has been on loan and in use at the governor’s mansion since the battleship was decommissioned in the 1990s. But no one associated with the decommissioned ship knew that until recently, when Rowan petitioned the governor’s office to borrow the silver for the anniversary celebration.
Rowan then enlisted the help of U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, D-1st of Haddon Heights, to ask the Navy to borrow the silver service, which a Christie spokesman called “the crown jewel” of the governor’s mansion.
Andrews said he was pleased to have forwarded the request to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
“I was happy to play a part in bringing this request before Secretary Mabus so that this treasure can be brought back to its former home at the Battleship New Jersey for this special anniversary. I am confident the logistics will be worked out and the silver will be enjoyed by all visiting America’s most decorated ship,” Andrews said in a statement released by his office.
According to the contract, the 100-plus-year-old Tiffany punch bowl — the focal point of the sterling silver service — will be displayed on the ship May 23-31 before returning to Drumthwacket, where it gleams as bright as new on the 20-seat dining room table.
Forty other pieces will be displayed on the ship through the end of September, including elaborately decorated goblets, plates and gold-lined saltcellars.
The main pieces of silver originally were given by the state to the first Battleship New Jersey in 1907. That ship was decommissioned and later sunk during target practice in 1923. More pieces were added and presented to the second USS New Jersey when it was commissioned in 1943. The full service is housed at Drumthwacket but is still owned by the Navy.
While Christie won’t be able to attend the anniversary celebration, two former governors, Christie Whitman and Jim Florio, will participate in the 11 a.m. ceremony next Thursday, Rowan said.
Navy representatives who served on the battleship during its four commissionings from World War II through the Korean War, Vietnam and into the 1990s also will participate. The public is invited.
Rowan said the silver service will be set up for display by guests who tour the ship.
Information on tickets for the tours can be obtained by visiting the battleship’s website,http://www.battleshipnewjersey.org.