An exploratory group of veterans wants to relocate the dilapidated USS Ling, a Balao-class submarine of the United States Navy, from Hackensack, New Jersey to Louisville, Kentucky.
Ling was laid down by the Cramp Shipbuilding Company of Philadelphia on November 2, 1942, launched on August 15, 1943, and commissioned on June 8, 1945. She first sailed for the Panama Canal Zone on February 11, 1946, operated out of Panama until March 9, and was decommissioned on October 26, 1946. Ling was towed to Brooklyn in March 1960 and converted into a training ship at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Ling, having received one battle star for World War II service, was struck from the Naval Register on December 1, 1971. In mid-1972, the submarine was donated to the Submarine Memorial Association, and the boat was brought to Hackensack in January 1973, where she was restored and reopened for tours as the centerpiece of the New Jersey Naval Museum.
The museum was forced to close after damage from Hurricane Sandy and was expected to reopen after emergency repairs were completed. But on August 14, 2018, four vandals opened Ling’s hatches and stole four memorial plaques to fallen sailors. The open hatches led to the 2,500-ton submarine to flood with water from the Hackensack River, destroying equipment, uniforms, and other historical relics. The plaques were later recovered. In a separate incident, five vandals broke into the Ling and stole two different artifacts.
Some hope for the Ling may be coming if an exploratory group from the Louisville Naval Museum can successfully relocate it to its museum in Louisville. A New York barge company said that if the museum can make the Ling float, it would tow it to at least to New York and possibly to the Gulf of Mexico. American Commercial Barge Line has agreed to pull the Ling from the gulf to Jeffboat, its shipyard in Jeffersonville, Indiana, where it would be restored.
In recent months, volunteer crews have been pumping the boat dry, patching a hole, and pressure washing grime from the surface. Estimates to completely restore the submarine range from $5 million to $10 million.