Journal Entry  -  September 21, 1999  -  Day 10

Tuesday Evening Position Report
6:30 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time
Latitude: 33 Degrees, 41 Minutes North
Longitude: 118 Degrees, 11 Minutes West
Days Run: Beginning Second Leg of USS New Jersey's Final Voyage
Speed: N/A (Stopped in Long Beach for Re-fueling

Distance of First Leg:  Sept 12th - 21st.  1,193.6 Nautical Miles - Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to Long Beach, CA anchorage
Total Average Speed First Leg:  5.54 Knots
Distance To Go Second Leg:  2,947.8 Nautical Miles to Balboa, Panama
Estimated Time of Arrival:  October 16
Present Course:  176 Degrees
Winds:  West at 10 Knots
Seas:  2 Feet
Swells:  Slight
Barometric Pressure:  1011 Millibars
Air Temperature:  64 Degrees
Visibility:  10 Miles
Skies:  Broken Overcast

Position:  Long Beach Sea Buoy, 2 miles due South of Long Beach breakwater, proceeding down the Southbound Coastwise Traffic Lane. USS New Jersey remains in the Los Angeles / Long Beach Vessel Traffic System, and is passing through a "Precautionary Area," where all vessels are limited to a speed of 12 knots because of traffic.

Long Beach Arrival & Departure

During the past 24 hours, the USS New Jersey announced herself to the sightseers of Southern California; gracefully passed within eyesight of the entertainment world.  She cautiously approached and entered one of the busiest ports in the world; anchored with the Sea Victory near the very middle of Long Beach's San Pedro Bay and played to the harbor's spectators - Commercial, Recreational, Professional, and Aerial - with her nearly 3-football field's worth of length.  The USS New Jersey, nearly four times the size of her escort tug, appeared to preside over an intense, 10-hour top-to-bottom re-supply and normal sea voyage repair of her tug's essentials to make her way south, down the longest leg of her homecoming, to the Republic of Panama, 24 days away.

Her anchorage this morning was a flawless exercise in precision guidance.  As huge container ships passed no farther than a few hundred feet away, Captain Ogaard, his crew and two Crowley assist tugs - Admiral and Master - with additional expertise aboard them, seamlessly nestled her into the "Charlie-15" designation, and Sea Victory dropped her anchor.  Then, everyone's day at the office began.

C.J. Good, the tug's cook, supervised the re-stocking of kitchen supplies, groceries, hand towels, ice cream bars, fresh fruit, vegetables and the all the ingredients he knows will bring a daily smile to the crew at dinner time. Never fails.

Electronics technicians, a waste disposal barge, a re-fueling barge, radar experts, port captains, pilot boats, up-to-the-minute editions of the Los Angeles Times, they all either came aboard, alongside, or were handed over.   It was a ten-hour flurry of people motion in every part of the tugboat.   Alongside the Sea Victory's anchorage, a mammoth General Petroleum fuel barge pumped 76,539 gallons of number-2 diesel fuel into her belly, topping off at 187,990 gallons for the voyage to Panama.

Chief Engineer Andy Cleland oversaw all the fine tuning to the Sea Victory's mysterious and intimidating maze of below-deck dual engines, gauges, pumps, monitors, valves, pressure systems, tubing, gears, circuits, and anything having to do with the vessel's reliable, continuous and powerful performance in delivering USS New Jersey to her next port of Balboa.

Lunch was available to all newcomer workers on board for today's exercise in mechanical, engineering and electrical flash-dancing.  The combined expertise of all those involved today in gearing up this workhorse vessel for her nearly 3,000-mile leg to the Panamanian oceanic gateways would impress even the lifelong pros.

By 5:00 p.m., Captain Ogaard and his dependable crew had begun re-fastening all the tonnage of chain they had removed just this morning. New Jersey's tow connection was fixed in place, extended to the Captain's measurements, and readied for her turnabout and exit through the Long Beach breakwater.

Goodbye Long Beach, Ola Panama

By 6:30 p.m., USS New Jersey marked her departure from the Long Beach Sea Buoy.  She proceeded South past off-shore oil production platforms, leaving behind the acrobatic pelicans diving like spears into the Bay for lunchtime snacks, the small sailboats darting by the mighty battleship in a brisk afternoon wind, and the gluttonous international freighters stuffed high, wide and long with who-knows-what for their trips to places who-knows-where.

This evening, as the sun shot a rainbow of color throughout the western sky, the battleship again met the Pacific, after she crossed the Long Beach breakwater into the familiar depths of her history.  What more natural place for her to be today?

USS New Jersey's 16-inch guns were at rest today.   There were no gunner's mates aboard, no deck officers, no prisoners-of-war to disinfect, no ammunition stockpiles, no colors, no chaplains, no sailors, no Marine Detachment, just a battleship paying her last visit to a homeport thousands of her crew will remember as long as they have time.

And maybe their grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, too, will know why she has meant so much to so many for so long.  And why this American warship, long silent and forever peaceful, beckons even the small sailboat with its lone passenger in a trafficked harbor to come just a little bit closer to her national legacy.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


Previous Journal Page  
Next Journal Page
To Photo / Journal Index Page

Line Drawing of Big J

For best viewing use Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or Netscape Communicator 4.61 or newer.
This site is privately funded and maintained, it has no official sponsorships or affiliations.
Please send any Comments or Questions regarding this site to the webmaster.
Last updated on June 10, 2002.