This Navy Battleship Simply Flew Its ‘WETSU’ Battle Flag for the First Time in 30 Years

When the USS New Jersey left the pier for the first time in 20 years on the finish of March, it did so in fashion — with the warship’s uncommon yellow battle flag flying within the wind.

Decommissioned in 1991 and now serving as a museum ship, the Iowa-class battleship traveled from Camden, New Jersey, down the Delaware River to Philadelphia Navy Yard final week for a 60-day interval of dry-dock upkeep in accordance in Navy laws, USNI News studies.

In accordance to the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, the previous warship left Camden with its battle flag flying excessive for the primary time within the greater than 30 years since its decommissioning:

The USS New Jersey shows its battle flag because it leaves Camden, N.J., for dry docking in Philadelphia. (Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial by way of Twitter)

A fixture of American naval custom for the reason that Revolutionary Battle, Navy warships normally fly customized battle flags whereas getting into and exiting port and through “particular ship evolutions” resembling holidays, a phenomenon has documented extensively prior to now.

However whereas many of those flags pay tribute to the namesake behind every vessel, the USS New Jersey’s battle flag has a extra fashionable spin on the normal battle ensign.

The USS New Jersey’s battle flag consists of the ship’s motto, “Firepower for Freedom,” emblazoned in crimson above the ship’s title and serial quantity (BB-62) in blue in opposition to a yellow subject, whereas a silhouette of the ship’s main 16-inch, .50 caliber Mark 7 weapons sits under them. However under that, in vivid crimson, sits an uncommon phrase in blue: “WETSU.”

“WETSU” just isn’t a chunk of New Jersey historical past or naval lore: In accordance to service members and veterans, it stands for “We Eat This Stuff Up” (or a barely extra vulgar model), a chunk of army slang that usually stands for placing on a contented face whereas performing some sort of grueling labor.

Associated: Need to Stroll Beneath a Huge Battleship? This is Take a ‘As soon as-in-a-Lifetime’ Tour.

The precise origin of the phrase and the way it proliferated by way of the ranks is probably going misplaced to time, however in accordance to veterans of the USS New Jersey, the motto was apparently imparted to the crew by now-retired Rear Adm. Ronald D. Tucker throughout his time because the vessel’s final commanding officer. One Navy veteran urged that Tucker often posted “WETSU” on bulletin boards to remind his crew to smile and bear it throughout inspections, press availabilities or different uncommon disruptions to each day life aboard the ship.

Whereas historic slogans resembling “Do not Give Up the Ship,” “Hearth When Prepared” and even “Give ‘Em Hell” are frequent fixtures of Navy battle flags, the incorporation of comparatively fashionable army slang right into a ship’s battle ensign is definitely uncommon.

The WETSU flag appeared in pictures from aboard the USS New Jersey in the course of the Nineteen Nineties, and curators with the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial presumed that some sailor took the flag dwelling with them after the ship’s decommissioning. However the flag had truly remained on board the ship for years earlier than the curators found and restored it.

To be taught extra concerning the USS New Jersey’s battle flag, watch this October 2023 video from the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial unveiling it to the general public:

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