Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station (BNJARS)
Tidbits from BB62 Veterans
We have been in contact with several radiomen who served on BB62 at one time or another over the last 58 years. Many of them have given us anecdotes about the time they spent onboard and have graciously agreed to let us share them with you. We thank them for sharing their memories with us and for the years of service they gave to our country.
I enjoyed reading so I would get in the shade of the starboard catapult and read. I sometimes would go to the 10th level, just to be alone.
If I remember correctly, we had six Radio Technicians, and they all slept in Radio 2 as it was the coolest place on the ship.
Procedure for Radio 2:
A man was on duty at all times in Radio 2. During the day he would have to do the full procedures for setting up the transmitter by himself if the other men has work assignments outside RAdio 2 during the day.
Procedure in Radio 2:
When we received a call on the squawk box for a transmitter setup, the Chief would tune the Frequency Meter, one man would stand by the Antenna Patch Panel, one would tune the VFO, one would be adjusting the Final Tuning. The man that answered the Squawk Box would stay at that position. It would take about 3 minutes to setup a transmitter.
CWO4 Radio Officer Sep 1981-Apr 1983
"The transmitter room (off of Broadway)
was ok with the exception of putting the WSC-3 stuff down there..
Heck of a long coax run to get the RF to the antennas. Just chuckling,
remembering the first broadside we fired for overpressure testing - sensors
glued to everything, - well, 9? % (not sure of exact
percentage) of the welds in the OE-82 charlies (Satcomm - look
like a washtub) broke.....
They (CNO edict) were supposed to make a mock-up for the Iowa and others so they wouldn't have the same problems we had on the New Jersey...."
"Other than that, the 16" were a dull boom, whereas the 5" bark was sharp. We either did 32 or 36 knots with 6 boilers on the line during sea trials off San Diego. There is a picture on the web with white caps around the fantail, that picture was during the sea trials, just about the time the escorts send a message saying they were going to slow down because they had broken most of the dishes... Heck, I didn't even know it was rough until I saw the picture... She rode like a dream as you would expect."
"I remember RM2 Casebeer (our tty repairman). He was always on the weight control program. One day chief Utz was doing an inspection and found that whole cabinet in the repair room was full of GeeDunk. I think he thought the ships store was going to run out."
"I also remember just inside the door one night we had created a huge pile of paper tape and messages. Not sure why we piled it all up but it was a mess. Just then Chief Utz walked in (2:00 am or so). I thought he was going to have my butt for letting the place get so messed up. He looked at us and then did a dive right into the pile. Looked like a kid in a pile of leaves. He must of known we were ready for some stress relief."
"If you can imagine. Our Communications officer (bald) would open the door, duck through the door with one foot in to get his traffic. Just as he was stepping out we would yell at him like we had something more for him. He would forget to duck and leave another mark on that shiny head. (Oh the things we did to amuse ourselves.)."
"I had to laugh when I saw the list of things you still needed. It reminded me of Seaman Schmutt, when we were in the yards he was the guy who could get us whatever we needed. We owned the storage room in the athwartship passage just aft of the radio room. At one time he had it half filled with floor tile that became a great trading tool later. It's too bad you don't have him now to find the list of things you need.
For the life of me I don't know why I was up on the mast, but for some reason I got sent up there with Worley. I about lost it when he was standing out on the yardarm and dropped down so he could hang from the lower rail and do chin ups 11+ levels from the main deck. If Utz would have found out my butt would have been fried.
Richard Stone, RM3
Here are just a few of my special memories from my time on BB62:
I remember going aboard the New Jersey in late December 1943 and trying to find my way to my new quarters and especially learning the hazards of going the wrong direction during GQ and knowing you had to get to your Battle Station before condition Red was set.
I remember going into Tokyo Bay and anchoring off the Yokosuka Naval Base and seeing the sun setting behind Mt. Fujiyama. It looked as if the sun had been placed there.
In September 1945 I remember watching crew members fishing and catching fresh fish in the bay.
I remember how tired I got, standing GQ under a 5" mount, firing at Tinsain all day long and seeing the mine sweepers being close in to the shore clearing the mines with no return fire from the beach due to the heavy bombardment.
Another memory that comes to mind is anchoring off Encivetak and smelling the stench of human decay and seing no trees standing - just stumps.
John J. Lawrence
May 1943 - June 1948
One time I had to have a tooth filled while we were in the south Pacific. This was during the time when the Jersey was Admiral Halsey's flag ship. I was in the dentist's chair and he had just started to work on my tooth when he was called out of the room. He returned in about 30 seconds and told me he'd have to finish my filling later; Admiral Halsey had a toothache and was on his way down.
I remember going through the Panama Canal on our way to the Pacific. The ship was designed so that it just barely fit through the locks. As we were going through the Gatun locks, the Jersey scraped the wall and knocked off several chunks of concrete, which fell onto the deck. I had one for several years, but I lost it when I was transferred off the Jersey after she was decommissioned in 1948.
One night we were shelling an island-I can't remember which one-which our 16" guns from a long way off. The range on these guns was so long that targeting required a correction factor for the curvature of the earth. We were shooting so far that the rounds were exploding below the horizon. It was an unforgettable sight in the pitch black night.
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