CAMDEN, NJ – May 17, 2018 – A 16-inch gun barrel, once used aboard the USS New Jersey in World War II
and the Korean War, will be formally dedicated as a memorial at the Marine Parade Grounds at the Philadelphia
Navy Yard during a ceremony at 2pm on Wednesday, May 23, which also is the 75th anniversary of the
Commissioning of the USS New Jersey into the United States Navy.
“To dedicate the barrel on this important date is a fitting ending to the journey of this historic gun barrel,”
explained Phil Rowan, the CEO/Executive Director of the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial.
“From saving the barrel from being scrapped over a year ago, to transporting it by railroad, to now having it as
the permanent display at the historic Navy Yard is a great accomplishment. We thank PIDC, and all our donors
and partners for their part in this significant piece of history.”
The 16-inch gun barrel, which is 68-ft long and weighs 120 tons, was removed from the USS New Jersey in 1954.
The barrel, which once fired a 2,700-lb projectile as far as 24 miles, was relined and placed in storage with two
other 16-inch barrels at Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Saint Juliens Creek Annex, where they laid for more than 60
The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, however, had other plans for the gun barrels. Funds were
raised and partners such as the Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Mahan Collection assisted in moving the
barrels. Now all three barrels have new homes and are being restored. One barrel will be on landside display at
the Battleship New Jersey, one will be on display at the Mahan Collection in Basking Ridge, NJ, and the third
gun barrel will be on display for visitors to the Navy Yard. The Navy Yard’s Marine Parade Grounds, located at
South Broad Street & Intrepid Avenue, is fitting location for the 16-inch barrel. The USS New Jersey was built
and launched from the Navy Yard on December 7, 1942, just 1400 yards southwest from this site. The Navy Yard
also produced the New Jersey’s sister-ship, the USS Wisconsin as well as dozens of other military ships and boats.
For the ceremony at the Navy Yard on May 23, speakers include Capt. Francis Spencer, Commanding Officer,
NSWC Philadelphia Division; Sheila Hess, City of Philadelphia Representative; and John Quinesso, a WWII Navy
veteran and volunteer on the Battleship. Battleship volunteer Nan LaCorte will open the ceremony with a rendition
of the National Anthem on bugle. Refreshments, provided by the Mercer Café, will be available for attendees after
A native of Mount Lebanon, Pa., CAPT Francis Spencer received his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in
May 1989, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in English. He completed the nuclear training pipeline and served
aboard USS ULYSSES S. GRANT (SSBN-631) and USS FRANCIS SCOTT KEY (SSBN-657) from 1991 to 1993.
After service aboard several ships, in April 2016, CAPT Spencer assumed command of Naval Surface Warfare Center
(NSWC) Philadelphia Division. He is a member of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the U.S.
Naval Institute (USNI), and the Department of Defense Acquisition Corps (AC). His personal awards include the
Legion of Merit (2 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (5 awards), and various other personal and unit commendations.
In 2016, Mayor Jim Kenney appointed Sheila Hess to the position of City Representative for the City of Philadelphia.
Her office serves as the premier PR, marketing and promotional department of the city, producing ceremonial and
special events while celebrating Philadelphia’s diversity through citywide event creation, community engagement and
innovative experiences. Representative Hess,49, currently serves on a variety of non-profit boards: Back on My Feet,
Phila. Police Athletic League (PAL), LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, Visit Philadelphia, Historic Phila. Inc., Greater Phila.
Film Office, PHLCVB, World Heritage, Marian Anderson Award, and Fred’s Footsteps.
John Quinesso served on a Landing Craft Medium in the Asiatic Pacific Theatre during World War II. Today, he serves
as a docent, usually explaining the history of the Captain’s In-port Cabin to guests touring the Battleship. John has been
with the Battleship as a volunteer since 2001, when the museum ship first opened. He recently celebrated his 90th
birthday. Instead of gifts, he asked his family and friends to make a donation to the Battleship, a non-profit museum and
memorial. These donations added up to over $1,300 for the Battleship.
The Navy Yard is considered the most successful redevelopment of a former military facility in the country. A thriving
riverfront neighborhood, the Navy Yard currently features more than 7.5 million square feet of historic buildings and new
high-performance and LEED certified development, housing 13,500 employees working at 160 companies. Future growth
will support up to 10 million square feet of commercial and residential development. In its master developer role at the
Navy Yard, PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, manages all aspects of the property’s
management and development, including master planning, leasing, property management, infrastructure development, utility
operation, and structuring development transactions. For more information about the Navy Yard, visit www.navyyard.org.
The Battleship New Jersey will celebrate her 75th anniversary of her commissioning into the US Navy on May 23. The
Battleship will hold a ceremony on the forecastle (forward deck) at 10am on May 23. The Battleship is the most decorated
Navy ship still afloat and once home to over 45,000 sailors. Opened as a museum and memorial in 2001, the Battleship
offers tours, educational programs, group packages, memberships, event space and overnights. For more information on the
Battleship, visit www.battleshipnewjersey.org or call 866-877-6262.
# # #