Hackensack, New Jersey- USS Ling

Whenever I am going somewhere on vacation, I always check to see if there is a submarine in the area to tour.  In 2013, I was making my first major trip to the East Coast for the Davy Jones Memorial Monkees Convention in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  I went to the submarine museum website and found that Hackensack, NJ is the home or (more correctly stated and you’ll see why) final resting place of the USS LING 297.  The submarine museums website said that LING still had all the batteries and was the last sub to patrol American shores in WWII. 

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The USS GROWLER is in New York, but I wasn’t brave enough to venture into New York City.  Also in Fall River, Massachusetts is the USS LIONFISH.  I toured it in March 2014, but that is a different post another Tuesday. 

I only had 3 days in New Jersey so I needed to make sure ahead of time everything I would need to know about visiting the LING so I went to their website.  Something just didn’t seem right.  After the experience I had in Seattle where I was searching for a submarine that was no longer there, I wanted to make sure this info was up to date.  No one would answer the phone or my emails.  So I did what I could to find someone in the area to help.  I work at City Hall in Milwaukee so I decided to reach out to the local government in Hackensack.  I wound up corresponding with Mr. Albert Dib, Legal Analyst, Local Historian.  He did some research and found an article stating that the USS LING and the museum sustained substantial damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  He even went to far as to drive by the property and snap a picture of the the sign stating that it was closed.

ling

Photo courtesy of Albert Dib

I was very grateful for his help, and needless to say, disappointed.

I did go to the property anyway and took a look around, even though all I could do was stand at a distance from the USS LING with a fence separating us like a prisoner and its visitor.  The museum was a trailer and the entire museum park was in a small grassy area, next to the Hackensack River in what appeared to be the back end of a shopping center parking lot.  It was not a fitting location for a WWII hero.  

I didn’t have to look far to see the damage from Hurricane Sandy.  Other displays in the yard were broken in two, such as the case with a torpedo and missiles and a propeller on its side.  On display as well is a World War II Japanese suicide torpedo, a German defense submarine and Vietnam War-era riverboat.

Sadly, when I returned again the following year in March of 2014, it still didn’t appear to be open but it had been cleaned up.  I hope something happens eventually to help the museum as there should be a better way to preserve this WWII submarine, although the information sounds bleak about the ability to raise funds to remove the LING from the Hackensack River.   

These are the photos that I took.  Please take a moment to view the short slideshow. 

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