99-Year-Old WWII Vet On Mission To Save USS Ling

Sean Adams
June 29, 2020 - 10:11 am

File Photo, NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

HACKENSACK, N.J. (WCBS 880) — There's new hope for a new home for New Jersey's hard luck submarine the USS Ling.

After nearly 50 years, the World War II era submarine and floating museum is getting the boot from its home in Hackensack and there are discussions underway to relocate it to Hoboken.

"Possibly we had four different places to take it, but the one that seems more likely would be the one in Hoboken," said 99-year-old World War II Navy veteran Joe Mongeli, who is determined to save the USS Ling.

Mongeli volunteered for the Navy right after the attack on Pearl Harbor and requested submarine duty. He served on the USS Lapon for more then three years in the Pacific during World War II. Now, he’s fighting to honor those who lost their lives in the war.

Joe Mongeli
Vintage photo of Mongeli and his wife on leave during WWII. (Photo credit: Joe Mongeli)
"I preserve the memory of all these beautiful men that I knew that volunteered their life to save America," Mongelli said. "Basically this represents a submarine memorial for volunteer submarine men that lost their lives in World War II."

The Ling has suffered flooding and is stuck in Hackensack River mud. With help from the Louisville Naval Museum, volunteers are on a mission to save it. 

Active duty Naval Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Joe Sullivan has been patching up the hull and fixing the engines in his spare time.

"The plan in place now is obviously to get her floating, once we get her floating then we can actually start to move forward with phase 2 of the plan and that's getting her into a dry dock," Sullivan said.

The goal is to raise $10 million for the rescue effort and they are dipping into their own pockets too.

Mongeli feels a kinship with these young volunteers.

"They seem to be like submarine men of the past, you know, they give a damn about everybody and everything and God bless them all," he said.

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