One of the U.S. Navy’s Iowa-class battleships was the USS New Jersey, but her crew called her “Big J.” But that was not the only nickname the New Jersey had.
She was called the “Black Dragon” during World War II due to her dark Navy blue paint. The color made it near impossible to see in the dark. She stayed this color until June 1945.
The USS New Jersey was the most decorated battleship out of the four Iowa-class warships. She was used in the Western Pacific campaigns from January 1944 until the end of WWII.
Her first battle was under the command of Adm. Raymond A. Spruance. She provided fire support for those landing on the Marchal Islands. Her next mission was in Saipan and Tinian, once again providing support for American aircraft carriers in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
The warship then was used in the Battle of Leyte Gulf under the direction of Adm. William F. Halsey and his Third Fleet. She also supported the attack on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
After WWII, the USS New Jersey was decommissioned.
Back In Action
However, sitting on the sidelines did not last long. The USS New Jersey returned to service in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
She was recommissioned once more in December 1982 and met with some updates. The USS New Jersey was given 16 RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, eight Armored Box Launcher mounts, and a quartet of Phalanx Close-in Weapon System Gatling guns.
Though, she still used her 16-inch guns in the Lebanon crisis. It so happens that was the last time they were used in battle.
The USS New Jersey earned nine battle stars while serving in World War II. She earned another four in Korea, plus three more in the Vietnam war. Her final three came in Lebanon and the Persian Gulf.
The USS New Jersey was also given the Navy Unit Commendation for her service in the Vietnam War. She also was given the Presidential Unit Citation from the Republic of the Philippines and a Presidential Unit Citation from the Republic of Korea.