A History Lesson on Battleship

by Press Release-Battleship New Jersey | Feb 10, 2008
A History Lesson on Battleship The Battleship New Jersey will host students from the LEAP Academy in Camden, NJ, for a special on-board class on the USS Mason, a navy destroyer that was manned by an all African-American crew during World War II. Several wives of Philadelphia Flyers professional hockey players will participate in the lesson, held on Tuesday, February 12, and join the students on a tour of our nation’s most decorated battleship immediately after the class.

African Americans' naval service stretches back to the beginning of the nation. Thousands of black men fought in the American War for Independence, many in the new Continental Navy. In the Civil War, blacks made up a substantial portion of the Union Navy's enlisted personnel -- 30,000 sailors. But in 1919, the Navy closed the door on opportunities for African Americans by halting Navy enlistment. Due to attrition, just 0.55% of the Navy’s enlisted forces were black in 1932, while seventy years earlier, during the Civil War, it had been 25%. Why did this happen? One of the Battleship’s education lesson plans examines the role of African Americans in the US navy from 1904 to the present day. The focus of the lesson details the historic journey of the USS Mason. Learn how the impact of this crew helped lead to President Truman’s Executive Order 9981 that fully integrated the US Armed Forces.

The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, located on the Camden Waterfront, offers individuals and group tours from 10 am to 3 pm Friday through Monday throughout February. Beginning March 1st, the Battleship will open daily from 9:30 am to 3 pm. The Battleship also offers overnight encampments for families and youth groups. Guests spending the night get dinner and breakfast served from the chow line, a tour of the ship, a ride on the 4D Flight Simulator and the opportunity to sleep in the bunks that the crew of the USS New Jersey. Ask about our Dietz & Watson “Rations” lunch program or one of our combo tour packages, including the Fish N Ship tour, which offers a special combination deal with the Adventure Aquarium. For more information, call 856-966-1652 or visit the Battleship at www.battleshipnewjersey.org.

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- Overnight Encampment on the Battleship
The Battleship New Jersey is teaming up with the Philadelphia KiXX this President’s Day weekend for a fun overnight adventure. The KiXX overnight encampment will take place Sunday February 19th, and include special appearances by KiXX players, the KiXX dance team and the team mascot, SocceRoo. PLUS, each person sleeping over will receive a voucher good for admission to a future KiXX game in the current 2005-2006 season. The evening will also include all of the features of a “regular” encampment night, including an after-hours tour of the Battleship, dinner and breakfast served from the chow line and eaten in the crew’s mess, a ride on the 4D flight simulator and a bunk for the night- right where the crew of the USS New Jersey slept. Overnight guests will also be allowed to stay onboard until noon the following day in order to take an additional self-guided tour of the battleship before disembarking. Cost for the special KiXX encampment is $58 per person. Reservations must be made in advance and include children between the ages of 7 and 18. Sorry, due to the nature of the program no kids under 7 can participate. Reservations can be made by calling 856-966-1652 x203. For more information about the encampment program, go to www.battleshipnewjersey.org. A chance to experience how the crewmembers on the nation's largest battleship actually lived aboard the "BIG J," the Encampment Program follows standard Navy routines, with plenty of flavor of shipboard and Navy life for campers. >From Evening Colors (the lowering of the flag), to chow in the mess deck (that's dinner, for landlubbers), to a nighttime tour of the ship, visit to the Geedunk (snack bar), Taps, sleeping in the crew quarters in original bunks, to Reveille, Morning Colors and morning chow the next day, and more, campers will have the opportunity to view and learn about the ship from a unique vantage point. Breakfast and dinner are served to all campers at the ship’s crew’s mess. A detailed tour of the Battleship is also given by the ship’s trained Docents or tour guides. Further, all campers get to ride in the 4D Flight Simulator, which features the battleship’s WWII-era scout plane in “Seahawk: Battle for Iwo Jima”. MORE 2-2-2-2 Battleship New Jersey Overnight Encampments The most decorated battleship in American Naval history, now a museum, the Battleship New Jersey is maintained as closely as possible to her last naval service condition. As a result, campers should be able to negotiate ladders and pass through watertight doors with a high step-over. The main deck of the ship is wheelchair accessible, and persons on crutches should have a buddy assigned to assist in mobility. Among the most notable warships in the Navy's history, the Battleship New Jersey's keel was laid at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1940, and the hull was launched on December 7, 1942, the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Awarded 19 battle or campaigns stars, more than any other U.S. battleship, she served in virtually every major conflict of the 20th century, including World War II, two tours in Korea, a Vietnam combat tour from September 1968 to March 1969, El Salvador in Central America in 1982, and then in the Mediterranean in 1983 at embattled Beirut, Lebanon. Throughout the remainder of the decade, she served in a variety of roles, including regular deployments to the Western Pacific. Decommissioned in February 1991, the USS New Jersey completed her Final Voyage home to the former Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard, arriving there appropriately enough, on Veteran's Day 1999. The Navy's decision to permanently berth the Battleship in Camden was announced on January 20, 2000. Opened to the public as a floating museum in October, 2001, on the Delaware River, along the Camden Waterfront across from Center City Philadelphia, the Battleship New Jersey has undergone massive restoration efforts, bringing history to life for visitors during daily guided tours through the Iowa-class ship, one of the largest battleships ever built – seeing the Admiral's quarters, the mess, the crew's quarters, the communications center and more, over nine of the massive ship’s decks. The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial offers several tours for adults and children. Guests can experience the ship in a variety of ways: through the guidance of trained Docents, at their own pace on a self-guided tour, or the Firepower Tour, which offers a unique and close-up look at the Battleship’s weapons. The Battleship is currently operating on a winter schedule: Friday through Monday, first tour leaving at 9:00 and the last tour leaves at 3pm. The Philadelphia KiXX are a member of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), a single-entity organization that features a coast-to-coast presence across the United States. The club is currently in their 10th season of play at the Wachovia Spectrum located in Philadelphia, PA. The team also operates the Philadelphia KiXX Summer Kamp program, which is offered to boys and girls, ages four to 18, throughout the Tri-State area. For more information, please contact David Deal, KiXX Director of Communications, at (215) 952-5431 or via cell at (267) 688-4127. The Communications Department can also be reached via email at ddeal@kixxonline.com.

Author: Press Release-Battleship New Jersey


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