Charting a New Course for The Jerseyman in 2014 and Beyond

Rich Thrash, Brass Team Volunteer


As many of you are probably aware its been a while since the last issue of The Jerseyman came out. When I took over this endeavor nearly two years ago I thought it would be no problem to keep up the pace that Tom Helvig had established, but I was sorely mistaken. For me there is always some other project that I want to get involved with that takes more and more of my time until something has to give, and lately it has been The Jerseyman, and my website, that have suffered. To be honest my true passion is being on the ship polishing brass on Saturdays, and working on special projects like getting Broadway ready to open, or helping design our new Battleship Challenge Coin, or organizing the fund raising effort that is currently underway to buy new signal flags to dress the ship.


Well, the good news is that most of the projects mentioned above are coming to a close. On May 23rd a stretch of Broadway was officially open to visitors, and let me tell you they are in for one heck of a treat! Getting everything in that area shining and looking good has been a major focus for the Brass Team since the first of the year and we're so glad it's finally open. The day before that on May 22nd our newly minted Battleship Challenge Coins were delivered and they look awesome. They are now available in the Ships Store. As for our Signal Flag fundraiser, we are doing pretty well and hoping to meet our goal by the time we have our Beef & Beer event on Saturday, June 7th. The flags have already been ordered and we may even have them onboard in time for the event.


With those projects wrapping up my goal is to be able to free up some time to work on my long-term number 1 project, which is populating the Memorial Kiosk with the names of all of the crew members that have served on the ship. I'm hoping to have all of the WW II and Korean War names into the database by the end of the year, it's been slow going for Margaret and me, but we're getting there.


So, what about The Jerseyman? Rest assured The Jerseyman will continue, but its format has definitely has changed. In the past it was formatted as a printable newspaper and distributed in a .pdf which everyone could download, print and store separately. That was great but doing that for a thirty or forty page document four times a year is a lot of work, not to mention all the writing and other tasks that are required. Since taking over The Jerseyman I have also heard from a number of you that the paper was too long and that I should cut it back.


Well after taking everything into consideration I decided the best solution was to turn The Jerseyman into a true online newsletter. From now on there will no longer be a .pdf available, when each issue is released you will receive an e-mail with a link that will take you directly to the first page of the current issue online where you will be able to page through the newsletter. It will not be formatted to print, however depending on your computer setup you should be able to print individual pages or photos.


Having The Jerseyman as strictly an online newsletter makes my job a lot easier, but I think it also makes for a better newsletter. By getting away from formatting restrictions and being forced to make things fit on a page there is more room for larger photos and larger, more easy to read fonts.


Six months have passed since the 4th Quarter issue for 2013 came out last October. In this issue I have attempted to catch everyone up with what has been happening during that time.  Articles are essentially arranged chronologically, so the oldest news comes first and we work up to the latest news on the last few pages.


Going forward I'm planning on scaling back to three issues a year, Spring, Summer and Fall. They will be spaced four months apart with Spring coming out on April 30th, Summer coming out on August 31st, and Fall coming out on December 31st. This too will help ease my workload a bit and make managing this newsletter a little easier.


As always I welcome your comments and suggestions, after all this newsletter is for you, the readers, and your feedback is important to me. Please feel free to send me an e-mail with your comments and/or suggestions to


Lastly I'd like to make one more pitch for everyone to make a donation to our Dress the Ship Fund Raising Campaign. Even if you can't attend any donation you can make will be greatly appreciated.  If everyone gives a little, together we can easily make this goal and Dress the Ship up right this July 4th. There is more information about this campaign below. Thanks in advance for your support!

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Dress the Ship Fundraising Campaign

Rich Thrash, Brass Team Volunteer


The Volunteers and Staff of the Battleship New Jersey are currently campaigning to raise $6,200 to purchase two new sets of Signal Flags. These flags will be used to Dress the Ship for Freedom Week (the week leading up to the July 4th weekend) this Summer. We're holding a Beef & Beer event on the ship on Saturday, June 7th, ticket prices are $62.00. Even if you are unable to attend we would appreciate any donation you might care to make. Below is a flyer with more information about this campaign. If you would like to purchase a ticket, or just make a donation, please send your check to the address below.


Rich Thrash
11859 Coopers Court
Reston, VA  20191 


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$300,000 Received to Help Restore and Market The Battleship

Phil Rowan, Executive Director & CEO, Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial


The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial has received a check for $300,000 from the Battleship New Jersey Historical Museum Society. Vince Falso, a Korean War veteran of the ship, and Larry Engel, a U.S. Army Veteran, presented the check to Phil Rowan, Executive Director on May 24th. These funds will be used to help pay for the restoration of the ship’s teak wood deck, paint the ship’s exterior including the visible hull, and market the ship to visitors.


The Battleship plans to commence the replacement of the deteriorated deck wood on the forward area of the main deck. Carpenters will be removing the old deteriorated wood, most of which was Douglas–Fir, which was installed by the U.S. Navy on the ship during its two final periods in commission.  Most of the teak that was installed by the Navy is in good condition.  Guests will be able to watch as the carpenters remove the old wood and install the new two-inch thick teak. It is hoped that guests will make donations on the deck so that the work can continue until all of the deteriorated wood on the deck has been replaced. The “Dollars for the Decks” campaign is continuing with over $250,000 raised or committed so far. The goal is to replace all of the bad wood on the decks, which is estimated to cost $2 million.


The exterior of the superstructure has been painted. With the funding from the Society, the ship will have its visible hull covered in a fresh coat of paint. This new paint job will make the ship look sharp and will protect the visible part of the hull from deterioration. When the ship is dry-docked in 2017 - 2018, the entire hull will be inspected, repaired, blasted to bright metal and receive six coats of primer and high-tech paint.


With $100,000 of the grant from the Society, the ship will undertake a comprehensive marketing program to reach out to potential visitors and event planners that can hold events on the ship.  Marketing funding has been hard to come by so the grant from the Society will help make the ship financially sustainable.


On behalf of all of the supporters of the Battleship New Jersey, we want to thank the Battleship New Jersey Historical Museum Society for new vital and timely funding.

Larry Engel and Vince Falso presenting the check.

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Curator's Corner

Jason Hall, Vice President, Curatorial Affairs, Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial


On Friday, May 23 the first official “Stroll Down Broadway” occurred as part of the 71st Anniversary celebration of the first commissioning of the Battleship New Jersey. This “stroll”, added to the end of the current Turret II Experience tour route, takes guests down ¾ of the long passageway known as Broadway that accesses the engineering spaces of the ship, The purpose of opening up Broadway is to elicit excitement, and possible financial donations, for the upcoming new engineering tour we hope to open next year.


The spaces onboard the Battleship New Jersey that are the most requested to be visited by our guests are the engineering spaces; particularly the boiler and engine rooms. They want to know the answers to the following questions: How does a ship three football fields long, weighing 57,000 tons, move through the water at over 40 mph? Currently the engineering spaces are not open to the general public. The “Stroll Down Broadway” is limited to just Broadway, and does not include any fire rooms or engine rooms. It will take a substantial amount of money, time, and energy to open up the new engineering tour we have planned.


The new guided “Steam to Speed Tour” onboard our nation’s longest and most decorated battleship, the USS New Jersey, will immerse guests into a one of a kind museum experience. The success of the interactive Turret II Experience, that opened on the Battleship in 2013, set the bar for all other historic ship museums. We intend to set the bar even higher in 2015 with the new Steam to Speed engineering tour. Participants of this new guided tour will not just merely look at the shipboard propulsion mechanics, but rather engage in hands on activities that will help bring to life the machinery that propelled the ship allowing it to provide Firepower for Freedom.


The tour will take guests down to the 3rd Deck to Central Station, one of four locations on the Battleship where the ship can be steered and the ship’s speed controlled. While in Central Station guests will learn how the ship was steered through electro-hydraulic movement of the rudder. This will be demonstrated to the guests by actually having them put their hands on the helm (wheel) and engine order telegraph, both of which will be augmented by new audio and visual aspects to give the illusion to our guests that they are actually controlling the speed and direction of the Battleship.


From Central Station the tour continues to the adjacent compartment that houses Damage Control Central. Damage control is the responsibility of ALL HANDS, from the Commanding Officer down to the newest recruit. Effective damage control (DC) requires the correct use of equipment to prevent or minimize the damage caused by battle, fire, collision, explosions, etc. All of the above is controlled from DC (Damage Control) Central. We hope to bring life to several of the communication implements and other hardware in this space in order to enhance the guest’s understanding of DC Central.


Walking back through Central Station the tour enters Broadway, the longest passageway onboard the Battleship. Once the new engineering tour is open, Broadway will be taken off the Turret II Experience tour. Broadway provides main access to each of the four Fire Rooms (boilers) and four separate Engine Rooms. Our preliminary concept calls for a series of video monitors along the tour route, beginning in the first compartment of Broadway, that will “follow a drop of water” on its journey from the ocean to the boilers illustrating how sea water is utilized to generate 212,000 shaft horsepower! Each video will help enhance the Tour Guide’s presentation by utilizing historic images, as well as modern computer generated imagery. The videos will show how the ship intakes salt water from the ocean and desalinates the water in order that it can be used by the boilers to create the steam that will turn the screws that propel the ship through the water.


The next stop on the tour is a Fire Room. Descending down two ladders guests will be in awe as they find themselves standing in front of an over two story tall Babcock & Wilcox M-type Boiler that created 600 pounds of steam pressure per square inch! The boiler consists of metal drums, headers and tubes for controlling steam pressure and temperature. It contains a furnace with casing and uptake; steam and water drums; a superheater, and all piping and accessories needed to ensure an ample supply of the three requirements to make steam: fuel, water and air.


Though dormant today, it is our goal to breathe new life into the boiler utilizing state of the art equipment to create a similar environment that the sailors of the Battleship themselves lived and worked in. Guests will feel heat, see steam, and take on the role of an actual Battleship sailor by engaging in a hands on activity where they insert a fuel injector directly into the front of the boiler. The guests will literally hold in their hands the means by which the Battleship was able to produce the power that enabled her to cruise around the world.


The tour will then descend another ladder to the lowest deck of the ship. As they walk among the countless pumps and valves, guests will walk underneath one of the Battleship’s massive propeller shafts, and even be able to touch it, a first for any historic naval ship museum! By walking through a new access door, which we must cut through the bulkhead to do, guests will enter into the bottom of an Engine Room. As previously stated, video monitors will continue to guide the guests on the journey that the drop of sea water took in becoming steam and now being used to turn the huge turbines and reduction gears that rotate the propeller shaft.


As in the Fire Room, we intend to install equipment in the Engine Room that creates the noise and other aspects of what it would be like to work in this space. Thanks to proposed cut outs in the coverings of the turbines, and removal of the covers for the reduction gears, guests will pear inside and see a world few have ever experienced. The addition of fiber optic lighting will allow guests to see how the turbines and gears would turn which rotated the propeller shaft and propelled the ship through the water.


Walking on the original catwalk guests will be taken to the Control Console (throttle board). The throttle board is the gas peddle for the engine. There are two wheels; the larger is used for forward direction and the smaller for reverse. Guests will be asked to put there hands on the larger wheel, the ‘gas pedal”, and turn it. By turning the wheel, thanks to newly installed A/V equipment augmenting the original gear, the gauges of the throttle board and the engine order telegraph will come alive. Guests will feel as if they are answering a call from the Bridge to increase speed, and they will t urn the wheel and send more steam to the engines. As the speed increases the deck will vibrate beneath them and the noise of the engines will increase. This is will all occur through the use of existing original ship’s equipment, new A/V aspects, and video monitors. 


Returning to Broadway via a newly installed ladder, guests will be given an overview of everything they experienced on the tour. A final video will recap the journey of the drop of water from the ocean, through the intakes, into the evaporator, to the boiler where it becomes steam, and then finally to the Engine Room where it turns the turbine and reduction gears that allows the 17’ diameter propeller to rotate. No other current historic naval ship museum has an experience that even comes close to what we are proposing. Though the above is merely a conception that will evolve over time, we are excited to complete the mission of the Battleship New Jersey Museum by taking our guests into the engineering spaces with our new Steam to Speed Tour!

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Last updated on April 03, 2012.