Total Average Speed: 5.83 Knots
Hours From Departure: 46 Hours
Distance To Go This Leg: 914 Nautical Miles
Estimated Tome Of Arrival: Tuesday, September 21
Present Course: 180 Degrees due South until Latitude 40 Degrees
Seas: Sea Surface Rippled
Swells: 5 Feet West Northwest
Air Temperature: 60 Degrees
Visibility: Overcast, Low Ceiling
USS New Jersey is now 50 nautical miles due west of the Columbia
River, the boundary separating the states of Washington and Oregon. The mouth of
Portland's Willamette River is 92 miles up the Columbia from its Pacific entrance.
With overcast skies and a greater distance from shore, no land is visible.
A Day Of Battleship Gray
After a week in Seattle and Bremerton, making final
preparations for an early Sunday morning departure, the sudden, unexpected overcast this
morning sent a gentle signal of change to the earlier feelings of sunny days are here
One can only imagine how the crew of the USS New Jersey
would accept a day of gray as they cruised to another Task Force rendezvous,
or prepared to receive orders for bomb line duty once again. What private thoughts
captured their attention? How long would it be this time? How great the
danger? How's the family back home?
Seeing "Big Blue Eyes" behind the Sea Victory
3,919-feet away, with her stem cutting through the sea surface just fast enough to create
a little whitewater, invites questions of those men during earlier times. She
received the blue-eyes' nickname from Air Force combat pilots flying over her and spotting
two huge blue swimming pool circles on her forward and after decks during the Vietnam
years. The name stuck.
Her journey for the past twelve hours has been steady and
clean. Chief Mate Terry Jacobsen, standing the 4:00 - 8:00 a.m. watch, reported various
fishing fleets along the way, requiring minor course corrections to assure safety and
Yesterday afternoon, two U.S. Coast Guard aircraft over
flew her numerous times to either capture photography or steal another close-up view of
her massive superstructure and daunting presence, even while under tow. Having the
45,000-ton steel symbol of authority trailing behind, and inescapable with every glance
backward, reminds the observer each time of her tradition and the meaning of this journey.
In September, 1968, thirty-one years ago, she was the
world's only active battleship, as she assumed her third combat career. She had
departed her Long Beach homeport for Pearl Harbor, Subic Bay in the Philippines, and by
September 30 was firing her 16-inch guns for the first time in sixteen years along the
Vietnam coast near the Demilitarized Zone, the 17th Parallel, the DMZ.
In the next two months on the Vietnamese gun line, she
would fire nearly ten thousand rounds of ammunition. More than 3,000 of those shells
were 16-inch projectiles.
This morning, only the gray of her speaks.
Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.