LONG BEACH — A group of "plank-owners" visited their old ship, the New Jersey, in conjunction with a meeting they were holding recently in Long Beach. Plank-owners are crew members who were assigned aboard the battleship at the time of its commissioning. The New Jersey has been commissioned four times--initially in May, 1943, at the height of World War II, and again for the Korean and Vietnam wars. Its most recent commissioning was in 1983 for President Reagan's defense buildup, and it now is home-ported in Long Beach.
In top photo, Loyal Kohn appears dwarfed as he climbs a ladder between the massive gun barrels near the bow of the New Jersey. Kohn was not on the battleship when it was commissioned, but he came on the ship's tour with a friend, Fred Reed, who was one of the original crew members.
Below, Mike Pazienza tells some of his war experiences to his wife, Betty, as they stroll along a rear deck of the huge ship. Pazienza worked in the No. 3 gun turret of the ship in 1943.