PHILADELPHIA _ The USS New Jersey is often hailed as the most decorated battleship in Navy history and the reason cited most often is that it earned 16 battle stars for service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The problem is, naval historians don't agree.
"We do not recognize any ship's claim to be the most decorated," said John Reilly, head of the Ships Historical Branch of the Naval Historical Center in Washington.
That is not to say the New Jersey and its crews over the years did not serve valiantly in the face of enemy fire. It is just that in the world of history, where facts are given more weight than emotional ties, the claim that the battleship is the Navy's most decorated is not on sure footing.
The New Jersey is docked at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, awaiting a Navy decision about whether it will reside in Camden or Bayonne. An announcement is expected in the coming weeks.
In literature and on Web sites, …