Vietnam veteran shares artifacts, history aboard Battleship New Jersey

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Saturday, April 1, 2023
Vietnam veteran shares artifacts, history aboard Battleship New Jersey
Ronald Wentworth was among the Vietnam War-era veterans and collectors who presented living history at the Battleship New Jersey today.

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "I joined the army when I was 17," said Ronald Wentworth of Toms River, New Jersey. "When I finally turned 18, they sent me to Vietnam in November of 1969."

Wentworth spent about 18 months serving with the United States Army. When he came home, he brought several artifacts along like his helmet and gas mask. But he did not receive a hero's welcome.

"When we came home, we were not very well welcome," said Wentworth, who can recall a time when he was kicked out of a VFW. "And I come to find out that I'm only one of many stories like that."

Fortunately, that negative sentiment has largely turned around in the last 50 years. Now, people come from far and wide to hear stories like Wentworth's at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial and Vietnam Era Museum in Holmdel, NJ.

Today, Wentworth brought his stories and artifacts aboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden for the annual Vietnam War Living History Day. He was among other veterans, collectors, and re-enactors who showed museum-goers some first-hand history today.

The Vietnam War Living History Day takes place each year on a Saturday surrounding April 6, which is the date that the Battleship New Jersey was recommissioned for the Vietnam War in 1968. Today's event has now concluded, but it is only one among many throughout the year.

Since 2001, the vessel has been docked in Camden, New Jersey, and plays host to a museum and memorial that is open 7 days a week from 10am to 4pm. As a non-profit, the Battleship New Jersey relies on volunteerism and donations to stay afloat and keep her history alive.

To learn more about the Battleship New Jersey and its other programs, visit their website.

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