Naval crews work to free the USS Monssen after it washed ashore in Holgate during the March Storm of 1962. The boat finally was freed six weeks after the storm. Photo courtesy of the Stewart Farrell Collection.

At least two U.S. Navy ships were among the maritime casualties of the March Storm of 1962.

In Holgate on Long Beach Island, the destroyer USS Monssen washed ashore after the ship broke free from its tow line. The Monssen was being towed to Philadelphia, where it was set to be decommissioned. The Monssen was a Fletcher class destroyer that was commissioned in 1944 and served in the Pacific Fleet during World War II.

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According to the book “Great Storms of New Jersey,” the Monssen was beached for six weeks before the tide eventually helped free the hull. In 1963, the Monssen was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and then sold for scrap metal.

Home movies shot in Holgate show the USS Prescott, a patrol class sweeper, also was driven ashore. The Prescott, which had been used in World War II and later became a naval training vessel, was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on March 1, 1962, just days before beaching during the storm. In June 1962, the ship was sold and later became a fishing vessel.

Sources: Great Storms of New Jersey, Tom Hafaenschiel and Navsource.org

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