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|
|Struck:||1 December 1971|
|1 Battle Star|
|Status:||Museum ship at New Jersey Naval Museum, Hackensack, New Jersey since 28 June 1972|
|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 #||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 is docked (since 1972) at the New Jersey Naval Museum in Hackensack, New Jersey but 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, with 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 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. (Despite the inevitable jokes that it was the private stash of the yeoman, the alcohol would have been used for cleaning electrical contacts.)
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.
Since 1972, the New Jersey Naval 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. However, on August 14, 2018, vandals stole four plaques from the ship, and it was flooded with several feet of water. It was unknown if it would be salvageable. The plaques were later recovered. Separately, five vandals broke into the submarine and stole two artifacts.
Freshwater flow in the Hackensack has been considerably altered by the Oradell Dam. The river has only been channelized to a point at the Riverbend in Hudson County. The accumulation of silt affords navigation only for small boats. The fate of the Ling may ultimately be connected to the ability for it to be moved from its location.
The Court Street Bridge, just downstream of the museum, is the most upstream bridge over the Hackensack River required by federal regulations to open on request. In 1999, the Code of Federal Regulations regarding bridge openings were changed at the request of Bergen County that it be required to open within four hours of a request, which had not occurred since 1994. The decision to re-build the bridge with an operable swing span was a matter of controversy.