June 27th Photos Page

WOW - What a Red Letter Day!  The day started out as usual for me, I worked up on O5 polishing brass getting ready for our 7th annual Battleship Blast.  The O5 level is the VIP viewing area for the fireworks so we wanted to shine everything up real nice for our sponsors.  Last Saturday when I was onboard I heard plans were underway to fire one of the ships 5" guns following the fireworks display.  In the past we've fired our Port and Starboard ceremonial guns, but this year, in addition to firing those guns, we would be firing one of the guns in Mount 52.  On Friday I received an e-mail that said an auction was underway and the highest bidder would be able to fire the gun.  The idea of being the person who would pull the trigger (or in this case depress the foot pedal) was interesting, so I started bidding.  Bidding continued throughout the day on Saturday and by the time I was done work for the day the bid was over $800.  Up until that time the bidding was between myself and one other person.  With work done for the day it was time for a quick shower to get ready for the Blast festivities.  The format of this years event was different from those in years past, and I think it worked well.  The dinner of Grilled Lobster, Filet Mignon and Teriyaki Chicken was excellent, and it was followed by a visit by the Philly Phanatic.  My only regret, no chocolate fountain for dessert...  The bidding to fire the gun was up to $1,000 after dinner, and although I really wanted to be the gunner, I was approaching my limit.  At 8:00 when the auction was over the winner was the gentleman I had been bidding against in the beginning, his final bid was $1,600!  My hat is off to you Ken for all you, and Dietz & Watson do for the ship, great job!  But wait, the story doesn't end there...  Being the winner Ken asked if I could go along and be in the mount too when he fired the gun.  I was given the green light and so we were off to the mount to fire a couple of practice primers.  With our block of instruction on firing the gun behind us I went off to roam around and get ready for the fireworks.  There were fireworks, yet somehow I managed to not take a single picture of them.  I was too busy thinking about being in on the firing of the mount.  At about 9:30 I headed to Mount 52 to join Ken and get ready for the shot.  When I got there I was given some ear protection and I climbed into the mount.  Ken was already in the gunners seat and I was ready to watch the firing, then something truly amazing happened.  Ken told me he was going to let me fire the gun, and he climbed out of the seat and I climbed in.  I was going to be the guy to fire the gun, unbelievable!  The last photo below is a still of one of the frames in a 40 second video taken of the firing of the mount.  It's a great video including sound, click Here to download and watch a compressed version of the video.  The uncompressed version of the file is over 75Mb in size so it's not likely that I'll be able to post that online.  Firing that gun was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I want to say thanks again to Ken for giving me that opportunity! 


June 27th Photo #1
My mission for the day, make the O5 level sparkle.

June 27th Photo #2

The view forward late in the day as I finished my work on O5.
June 27th Photo #3
After dinner we had a visit by the Philly Phanatic, he was a huge hit.
June 27th Photo #4
Down on the pier there had been a band rocking on this stage when
I arrived.  After dinner when I went down there again I found these
young ladies talking about this boa constrictor, not being a big fan
 of snakes I didn't hang around.  While down on the pier I did discover
 something that I think is going to be very cool.  The ship has started
selling special engraved bricks that will be placed on the pier.  The cost
to add a brick to the pier is I believe $100, I picked up some literature
 for this program and will post more details in the not too distant future.
You can also visit the ships website (www.battleshipnewjersey.org)
 for more information.  
June 27th Photo #5
Here we are in the mount getting our block of instruction on firing the gun.
The gentleman on the right is the man who won the auction, he, like me,
 is a former Army guy.  During this time we test fired a couple of primers
 and got an idea of how the event would take place. 
June 27th Photo #6
That's Ken, in the gunners seat, pretty close quarters to climb into.
June 27th Photo #7
With our familiarization over inside the mount I roamed around some more
and waited for darkness to come.  Out on the river this Coast Guard cutter
patrolled around and presumably was there to keep people in boats a safe
distance from the ship when we fired the mount later.  
June 27th Photo #8
This was the moment I had been waiting for all day, the firing of Mount 52!  Inside the mount
doing the loading and firing were a couple of Army guys, and even though this gun didn't have
a lanyard, we did just fine!  Once again thank-you Ken for giving me the opportunity to fire the
gun, I've been a volunteer for over 8 years now but this was by far the best day I've ever had 
on the ship!  To download a compressed version of the video including sound, click Here.

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Last updated on August 26, 2009.