TRG Historic Content Co.

The Oral History Program of the Battleship New Jersey (30 minute presentation)
Part of the six part US naval history series from TRG Historic Content Co. (

This presentation defines oral history, tells who we are and who we interview (volunteers interviewing veterans), the scope of our program, provides some history, who uses our recordings, how we do the interviewing, shows samples of our work and explains how you can help.

Oral history collects spoken memories and personal commentaries, sometimes of historical significance, sometimes not, through recorded interviews.

We are a group of volunteers on the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial who serve by honoring those who served and preserving their narratives. We have done over 300 oral history interviews of US military veterans, mostly on video. We interview U.S. Navy veterans and members of other US Armed Forces, civilian workers and museum volunteers. We interview veterans of the Battleship New Jersey, but crew members of other vessels tell their stories also. We have interviewed veterans from World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, conflict in the Middle East, and the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We interview primarily in our studio aboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, NJ. However, if it is too difficult or too far to come to the battleship, we can do interviews via telephone or Skype and the Internet. We make the recorded interviews available to researchers, historians, writers, educators, students, and the general public. To make our interviews more accessible, we share the recordings with our partners: the Library of Congress in Washington DC and the New Jersey State Library in Trenton NJ. Some of the interviews may be made accessible online by these institutions.

Our program was founded by Professor Emeritus Dr. Thomas Banit, while he was Professor of History and Education at Kean University in New Jersey.

As part of this presentation, you will see excerpts from five video interviews of veterans of World War II: an Army Cpl. serving in General Patton’s Third Army in the Battle of the Bulge; a Navy plane handler aboard the aircraft carrier USS Monterey tells us about Halsey’s Typhoon in December 1944; a Navy boatswain’s mate who served as a gun Capt. aboard the Battleship New Jersey, talks about the downs and ups minorities faced in the Navy during WWII; a US Navy WAVE and storekeeper at New York Naval Air Station, Floyd Bennett Field; and a U.S. Army Air Corps enlisted man, serving in London, tells how trouble with his captain got him an all-expense paid cruise on a landing craft to the Normandy beaches in June 1944.

About the Developer/Presenter
Ron Gottardi is Volunteer Director of the Oral History Program of the Battleship New Jersey, a former docent (tour guide) and volunteer educator for the ship. This gives him access to the rich material in the museum-ship’s libraries, curatorial archives, and oral history recordings and transcripts. Ron has also developed naval history exhibits for the Battleship New Jersey and other organizations. He is a member of the Oral History Association, the Oral History Mid-Atlantic Region association, the United States Naval Institute and the Historic National Ships Association. Ron is a former Associate Professor at Drexel University and was also adjunct faculty at Rowan University and Temple University. He has bachelors and masters degrees from Rutgers and Temple Universities.

This presentation can be delivered for a fee to local (southern NJ and Philadelphia area) veterans, civic, and public organizations. For local presentation, contact Ron Gottardi at 856-608-7984 or by email at Part of the fee goes to the Battleship New Jersey Oral History Program to continue its interviews of military veterans and to develop more US naval history content. For more info on our program, visit

Oral History Program talk 2015fJE12.doc ; © 2015 Ron Gottardi


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