USS Ling (SS-297), wearing camouflage paint scheme in July 1945, during sea trials.
|Laid down||2 November 1942|
|Launched||15 August 1943|
|Commissioned||8 June 1945|
|Decommissioned||26 October 1946|
|Stricken||1 December 1971|
|1 Battle Star|
|Status||Former Museum Ship, at former location of the New Jersey Naval Museum in Hackensack, New Jersey|
|Class and type||Balao-class diesel-electric submarine|
|Length||311 ft 8 in (95.00 m)|
|Beam||27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)|
|Draft||16 ft 10 in (5.13 m) maximum|
|Range||11,000 nm (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 knots (19 km/h)|
|Test depth||400 ft (120 m)|
|Complement||10 officers, 70–71 enlisted|
|Location||Hackensack River at 150 River Street, Hackensack, New Jersey|
|Area||less than one acre|
|Architect||Cramp, William & Sons|
|Architectural style||BALAO Class|
|NRHP reference No.||78001736|
|Added to NRHP||19 October 1978|
|Designated NJRHP||16 January 1978|
USS Ling (SS/AGSS/IXSS-297) is a Balao-class submarine of the United States Navy, named for the ling fish, also known as the cobia. The ship was grounded in the Hackensack River at the former location of the defunct New Jersey Naval Museum in Hackensack, New Jersey. It is inaccessible to the public.
Ling was laid down 2 November 1942 by the Cramp Shipbuilding Company of Philadelphia. She was launched 15 August 1943, sponsored by Mrs. E. J. Foy, and was moved to the Boston Navy Yard for completion and testing. Ling was commissioned on 8 June 1945, Commander George Garvie Molumphy in command.
After shakedown and further installations, Ling headed out to sea to test her equipment 15 September 1945. The submarine was based at Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut until she sailed 11 February 1946 for the Panama Canal Zone, arriving eight days later. She operated out of Panama until 9 March when she sailed north. She completed inactivation 23 October at New London, decommissioned 26 October 1946, and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
In March 1960, Ling was towed to Brooklyn, New York, where she was converted into a training ship at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, simulating all aspects of submarine operations. She was reclassified an Auxiliary Submarine (AGSS-297) in 1962.
Six months later the old 297 was donated to the Submarine Memorial Association, a non-profit organization formed in 1972 with the purpose of saving Ling from the scrap yard. They petitioned the Navy to bring the boat to Hackensack, New Jersey to serve as a memorial "to perpetuate the memory of our shipmates who gave their lives in the pursuit of their duties while serving their country." Many citizens and corporations contributed time, professional services, and funds toward the restoration of Ling. She arrived at her present home in New Jersey in January 1973, where she was restored to near-mint condition—scrubbed, painted, and polished for public tours—through the efforts of the association. The compartments were refurbished and outfitted with authentic gear that recreated the bygone era of the World War II battle submarine. She was the centerpiece of the New Jersey Naval Museum at 78 River St., Hackensack, New Jersey.
X-rays showed that the submarine's five safes contained documents and metallic objects, but the combinations had long been lost. On 27 January 2006, Jeff Sitar, the eight-time world champion locksmith, opened the safes using only his fingers and an electronic sound amplifier, rather than drills or explosives. In the safes, he found a wide variety of objects, including a dozen pennies, two .45-caliber bullets, a ring of keys, many training and maintenance manuals and parts catalogs from the 1940s and 1950s, and two 1-US-quart (950 ml) cans of 190-proof ethanol.
In the American-produced Russian language film Katya shot in 2010, the Ling was used for a set to depict the Soviet K-129 diesel-electric powered submarine which sank on 8 March 1968 northwest of Oahu.
From 1972 until the closing of the New Jersey Naval Museum, the Museum had paid one dollar per year to rent its riverside site for Ling. In January 2007, the North Jersey Media Group, owner of the site, informed the museum that the site was going to be sold for redevelopment within the year and that the museum and submarine would need to be relocated. As of September 2013 the museum itself was closed due to damage in 2012 from Hurricane Sandy. The museum closed again for emergency repairs in late July, 2015. The museum was expected to vacate the property in August 2018. Sometime in mid-August 2018, the Ling was vandalized. Locks were cut on interior doors, and hatches were opened, allowing up to 14 ft of water to flood the interior of the ship. Memorial plaques were also stolen from a US Submarine Service memorial on the shore. The USS Ling is being worked on by a new group of volunteers, who pumped out the water and used compressed air to fill the ship's ballast tanks, allowing her to be refloated. Her final destination is yet unknown as the original plans have fallen through. There are no plans to allow the USS Ling to be scrapped or to be allowed to deteriorate further. Efforts are being made to find a new home for her, potentially in Louisville, KY. The swing bridge south of her on the river is functional and is no longer an issue to moving her.
Freshwater flow in the Hackensack River has been drastically reduced for use as drinking water by the Oradell Dam. The navigable ship channel on the river has only been maintained as far north as the Riverbend in Hudson County. The accumulation of silt has effectively filled in the formerly navigable channel. The present depth of the Hackensack River is too shallow to allow the Ling to move downstream, and there are no funds or plans to dredge the river, the muds of which are laced with industrial toxins. The Ling therefore cannot be moved from her location.
There are four bridges across the Hackensack River, south of the Ling, that do not open or move. Two are vehicular bridges. Two are rail bridges, one operated by New Jersey Transit and one operated by both New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. These bridges also make moving the submarine downriver impossible.
- Friedman, Norman (1995). U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. pp. 285–304. ISBN 1-55750-263-3.
- Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 275–280. ISBN 0-313-26202-0.
- U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
- Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 271–280. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9.
- U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 261–263
- U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 13 March 2009.
- Jeff Sitar and Basil Kio speak about opening five safes on a World War II submarine, LexisNexis transcript of The Today Show, 28 January 2006
- Coutros, Yvonne (24 October 2010), "USS Ling in Hackensack is setting for movie about doomed Soviet sub", The Record, retrieved 20 October 2012
- Holl, John. "Retired Submarine, 63, Seeks Loving New Home", The New York Times, 11 February 2007. Accessed 21 October 2007.
- "Former headquarters of The Record newspaper slated for demolition". North Jersey. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- Newark Bay/Hackensack River/Passaic River Study Area Report (PDF). Hudson-Raritan Estuary Environmental Restoration Feasibility (Report). United States Army Corps of Engineers. June 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 July 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Newark Bay, Hackensack and Passaic Rivers – Hackensack River, New Jersey (PDF). Report of Channel Conditions 100 to 400 Feet Wide (ER 1130-2-306) (Report). 18 April 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Holl, John (11 February 2007). "Retired Submarine, 63, Seeks Loving New Home". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- FER. "The sad sub in the Hack". Submarine Museums. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- NOAA Chart 12337, Passaic and Hackensack Rivers
- Tour through the USS Ling inside and out by Weird NJ magazine
- Photo gallery of Ling at NavSource Naval History
- New Jersey Naval Museum website
- USS Ling at Historic Naval Ships Association
- Louisville Naval Museum, Inc.