U.S. Navy, NAS Lakehurst
USS New Mexico
On Tuesday, November 18, 2003, the World War II Lecture Institute will present their 70th program (our 6th year)
at Abington Library, Abington, PA.
Percy R. Nelson of Willow Grove, PA will be our speaker. The title of his talk will be "My Tour of Duty
on the battleship U. S. S. New Mexico during W.W.II". Nelson's U. S. Navy career covers three years (1943-1946).
He entered the navy early in 1943 at Lakehurst, NJ Naval Station and, along with many others, was trained as a
steward's mate. Later he was assigned to the battleship U. S. S. New Mexico (built in 1914) and served as a Steward's
Mate First Class for the ship's officer crew. Daily life for all aboard a battleship in W.W.II was no picnic!
While in the Pacific, the ship was struck twice by Japanese kamikaze suicide planes. At Okinawa, during the first
strike, many of the crew, including the ship's Captain Fleming, were killed. Many were wounded. After extensive
repairs at Pearl Harbor and Puget Sound naval bases, the U. S. S. New Mexico became the flagship of the 7th Fleet
under the command of Admiral Spruance. It then went back into service in the Pacific. During the end of W.W.II
in 1946 at Boston, MA, Nelson was honorably discharged and returned home to civilian life again.