Question of the Week

January 2009


What is your favorite ship and why? My favorite is the USS New Jersey (BB-62). A great ship with a fabulous history that I wish could have seen more service during the Cold War.

Posted by Jim Dolbow in History, Navy

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  • Byron

    Here’s mine…and it could have easily put the New Jersey on the bottom:


    “Enterprise entered World War II on the morning of December 7, 1941, when her scout planes encountered the Japanese squadrons attacking Pearl Harbor. Not until May 14, 1945, when a Kamikaze attack off Kyushu, Japan, left a gaping hole in her flight deck, was she forced to leave the war.

    Of the more than twenty major actions of the Pacific War, Enterprise engaged in all but two. Her planes and guns downed 911 enemy planes; her bombers sank 71 ships, and damaged or destroyed 192 more. Her presence inspired both pride and fear: pride in her still unmatched combat record, and fear in the knowledge that Enterprise and hard fighting were never far apart.

    The most decorated ship of the Second World War, Enterprise changed the very course of a war she seemed to have been expressly created for.”

    And my favorte WW2 book was “The Big E”

  • Byron, let’s just say I am not going to argue with you. It was criminal that the Navy scrapped the Big E. I have read the book as well. Great read. Should be required reading thanks for commenting

  • Rubber Ducky

    Dick O’Kane’s TANG. Unmatched record, and unmatched bravery by her survivors in Japan.

  • Byron

    My second: The Perry FFGs. Great little ships, best bargain the Navy ever got. They were supposed to be the outer pickets, expendable in the war at sea mode against the Red Banner Northern fleet. I remember talking to sailors back in the 80s, they said if it ever dropped in the pot, the deck div was going to paint a big bullseye on the side of the deckhouse. Incredibly tough, as Stark and Roberts proved (I’ve worked on both), durable years beyond their planned retirement dates, the workhorses of the modern Navy.

  • sigszilla

    The two best ships in the Navy: The last one, and the next one.

  • Big D

    I love Enterprise; but our best ship is made of oak… and iron.

  • I’m torn on this. I served in one of the most useful, fun-to-drive ships (LST-1180), and in one of the most famous and powerful (BB-61). Both classes had characteristics that made one love them, but I think both served far too short a life in active service to be classified as “best” ships.
    One ship that sticks out from my time in the service is Coral Sea, CV-43. Her history spans all of the Cold War period, from Mediterranean cruises in the 40s and 50s through Viet Nam, Frequent Wind, Mayaguez, the Iran hostage crisis, and El Dorado Canyon. She and Iowa were deployed together in the Mediterranean in 1989, and had worked up together that spring. When Iowa’s turret 2 exploded on April 19, Coral Sea was over 100 miles away, yet at nearly 42 years old she was crossing the horizon ready to render assistance not much more than 2.5 hours later.

  • marvin

    It is the Men who make the best ships.

    USS Franklin – 3/19/1945 50 miles off the coast of Japan.
    She was the ship that would not sink, thanks to the incredible efforts of her men, 2 MOH awarded (one to Father Joseph O’Callahan, and one to LCDR Gary) plus over 100 more medals.

  • Larry Schumacher

    New Jersey and the Big E are near the top of my list was the steam sloop of war USS Kearsarge. A beautiful ship, and a lucky one, Kearsarge after her defeat of CSS Alabama went on to serve our country with distinction all over the world for decades before finally leaving her bones on a reef, a better end perhaps than mouldering in a breakers yard. She epitomised American fighting ships: Able to take on anything in their class with confidence.

  • ted

    All great ships, but the fav is USS Parche. Parche is the most decorated ship in the U.S. Navy, receiving a total of nine Presidential Unit Citations, ten Navy Unit Citations, and thirteen Navy Expeditionary Medal awards during its thirty years of service. The premier cold warrior.

  • The Queen Elizabeth class battleships. As the first oil-fired battleships they helped create the modern world, and were good enough for frontline service in 2 world wars.

  • Oh, plus they looked really cool!

  • Rubber Ducky

    All big skimmers look cool … through a periscope.

  • From strictly a personal standpoint, my favorite ship is the one that had the best and tightest crew, that I had the best experiences on at sea and with my shipmates ashore, that looked the coolest and had that special vibe that only comes along once in a great while. USS Antelope (PG-86) – And I didn’t even have to kill anyone to get assigned to her.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Ducky, that was a very funny comment (through a periscope).

    But tot he general group for another suggestion, for length of useful service, how about the GEARING-class DDs? Tough little ships, fast and handy, from those I know who served on them. Some of them served 60+ years.

    Second hand sea story: When the Sara hit that Turkish Mauvenet (an old Gearing FRAM II) with two sea sparrow missiles in 1992, a friend of mine went aboard to assess damage. He said that with any decent DC, the ship was still very “fightable”. Not sure if that would be true of GEARING class’s aluminum descendants.


  • sid

    After all thats said and done, for all the fine examples above,this is what really matters

  • It’s a toss up with me on the best ship – my first ship, USCGC DALLAS was quite an experience and adventure. I joined the Coast Guard with the interest of excitement – and my first tour of sea duty didn’t disappoint me. My second ship, USCGC BOUTWELL was great! I was a YNC at the time, and had a blast in the job, as I was able to qualify as a boarding officer, Helo landing signal officer, and ran the damage control training team. Most importantly – we had a terrific crew.

  • Personally, I have always loved this one. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v514/warthog_62/PugetSoundsmall.jpg

    I think it’s an absolute travesty that none of them are still in commission. We could have sailed the Cole back home under her own power had we had a tender do some basic dockside repairs. Think of the sea power statement THAT makes.

  • Mumbles

    My favorite, USS America, CV-66. As I spent a few years flying off her deck, while attached to VA-46.

  • Brine

    I haven’t ridden one yet, but from the ship side I’ll have to betray my LA roots and say the VAs. They went back to the stone age of submarines on berthing but everything else is very impressive, and proven tech. As RD says big ships look nice from behind a periscope’s crosshairs.

  • pk

    there’s two of them:

    you walk up the gang way to the hanger deck of enterprise and see the ships history painted on the inner starboard side bulkhead opposite the gangway and you get the feeling that the name is worth it.

    you walk the main deck of missouri look at the guns… then go up on the surrender deck and think shigametsu stood over there, the table was here, MacArthur was there…. and it gives you a real shiver up your back.

    then go over to the hatch that MacArthur was heading for so quickly after the ceremony and look just inside, and whats in there?????


  • Chap



    Seems like everybody I know served on it.

  • claudio

    I’ll have to second the vote on the CORAL SEA, having served on her. Lots of hard work, but a great ship and a great bunch of guys. I remember the 89 workups with the IOWA and her throwing shells around us. A sight to behold.

    I also remember the tragedy of that April, and the speed that Skipper Allen put on.

    great ship.

  • Thank you very much for your help, this has been a great rest from the books,