Journal Entry  -  October 16, 1999  -  Day 35

Saturday Morning Position Report
8:00 a.m., Central Daylight Time

8 Degrees, 56 Minutes North


79 Degrees, 34 Minutes West

Days Run:

At Anchor at Balboa Port Terminal, Panama


At Anchor at Balboa Port Terminal, Panama

Position:  USS New Jersey safely and securely docked at the Balboa Port Terminal at about 11:00 a.m. this morning.

The Battleship USS New Jersey's approach up the Bay of Panama, her pass by the Balboa Sea Buoy, her handsome transit beneath the historic Bridge of the Americas, and her berthing at the Balboa Port Terminal this morning was as successful and heartwarming as last night's misadventure was trying.

Panama Canal officials boarded the USS New Jersey very early this morning, at about 6:00 a.m., well South of the Balboa entrance, as Crowley Marine Services' pilots, state of New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs overseers, and Panamanian line handlers selected to secure the Battleship to the dock once in port joined with them for the casual ride into the beautiful port of Balboa.

Panamanian assist tugboats joined the Sea Victory early, and spent three or more hours with her as she entered the port.  Sightseers along the shores watched as the famous and historic ship slowly passed.  News media photographers in boats, along the rails of the Bridge of the Americas, and along the docking pier satisfied their photographic hunger as the ship finally entered and took her final berthing in Panama.

Well wishers waved and congratulated the Sea Victory's Captain and crew as the crews on the pier, in the assist tugs, and aboard the Sea Victory executed their jobs with the ease of the veterans who served on the New Jersey during her wartime years.

The details, the feelings, the long-to-be-held memories of this arrival will be dispatched with this evening's report.

For now, let it be said that the USS New Jersey entered Balboa, Panama with the same pride she displayed when she departed Bremerton on September 12, thirty-four days ago.  Her spirit and symbolism will enliven this place during her stay here.  And most definitely it will carry over, through her Canal passage, and into the waters of New Jersey along the Delaware River next month.

But first, New Jersey will linger here in the former Panama Canal Zone, among those who know what her past has meant, and what her passage through this place will mean for their future.  For the Battleship, her future means coming home.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


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