The Naval History of New Jersey

By Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division 

The state of New Jersey has a history as rich as any in the United States. Because of its location near the center of the original thirteen colonies (between New York City and Philadelphia), the “Garden State” played an important role in the Revolutionary War. In fact, during the war, more battles were fought in New Jersey than in any other state, with Americans and British fighting at least 100 battles, both large and small.

As the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and the first state to sign the Bill of Rights, it is no wonder the U.S. Navy would someday name ships for the state, its cities, places and people (at least 30!).

There have been two ships named for the state itself, the most famous being USS New Jersey (BB 62). Commissioned in 1943, New Jersey spent her early days fighting in the Pacific during World War II. During the ship’s time in the fleet, it received nine battle stars for World War II, four for the Korean War, and two for Vietnam. The ship also earned the Navy Unit Commendation for Vietnam service.

New Jersey is also the birthplace of one of the Navy’s most famous admirals of all time—William F. Halsey. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Halsey graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1904. Halsey had an extremely distinguished career and was eventually promoted to the rank of Five-Star Fleet Admiral, one of only five men to have ever held that rank. USS Halsey (DLG 23) and USS Halsey (DDG 97) were both names in his honor.

Learn more about the great state of New Jersey below!