Wanamaker represents Juneau at USS Juneau memorial dedication in New Jersey

Launching ceremony of USS Juneau, Oct. 25, 1941, from Federal Shipbuilding Company, Kearny, N.J. Photo courtesy Bureau of Ships Collection, U.S. National Archives.

A county government building in New Jersey was dedicated Wednesday to the USS Juneau, 71 years to the day the Navy ship was sunk in the Battle of Guadalcanal.

More than 600 men died on Nov. 13, 1942, when two Japanese torpedoes struck the ship.  Among them were 20 Hudson County, New Jersey men.

A number of their family members attended the dedication.  Juneau Assembly member Randy Wanamaker also was there.

They read the names of all the men from New Jersey who perished on the ship.

Wanamaker says a number of World War II veterans were guests of honor at the dedication.

The USS Juneau was built in Hudson County at the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock’s building 77. The ship was launched in the Hackensack River in October 1941.  At the time, its namesake was the capital of the Territory of Alaska.

Following the war, the U.S. Navy gave building 77 to Hudson County. It now houses several county government departments.

Juneau Assembly member Randy Wanamaker presented a CBJ proclamation at the New Jersey dedication. Photo courtesy Randy Wanamaker.

Wanamaker has been fascinated by the ship since he was a kid and heard stories from his mother about Juneau children collecting dimes for the ship’s silverware.

More than 500 people attended the New Jersey dedication, which brought city officials from miles around.  Wanamaker read a proclamation from the City and Borough of Juneau.

He says a model of the USS Juneau is in the Hudson County building, and a small museum includes artifacts, numerous letters from crew members and newspaper stories about the light cruiser.

Last year, Wanamaker organized Juneau’s dedication of a new waterfront memorial to the ship.

Two other Navy ships bore the name USS Juneau. Another light cruiser was commissioned in 1946 and served in the Korean War before being scrapped in 1962.  The third was a transport vessel launched in 1966 and decommissioned in 2008 at a ceremony in San Diego, which Wanamaker also attended.

(This story was updated to clarify the commission and decommission dates for the other vessels named USS Juneau)

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