By Steve Tawa

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — The elements have taken a toll on the celebrated Battleship New Jersey, berthed on the Camden waterfront, which is badly in need of a makeover.

Now, a local painters’ union is donating its services to repaint the historic ship.

Leaders of District Council 711 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades  say the job will include a rotating crew using their skills and knowledge of industrial painting to preserve the hull of the 887-foot-long decommissioned battleship.

Painters’ union member Jeff Alcott, of Mount Holly, NJ,  and his crew already have about 300 feet of the hull, newly painted “haze gray,” under their belts.

“You can tell we started, and it looks pretty good so far,” he said today.  “I’m a veteran, so I take a lot of pride in that.”

America’s most decorated battleship, the New Jersey, was built at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and launched December 7, 1942, exactly one year after the Pearl Harbor attack that brought America into World War II.