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The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD), in cooperation with the N/S/ SAVANNAH Association, Inc., is dedicated to preserving the history of this amazing vessel--a history that can only be told by those who experienced her first hand. We are assisting in this effort by collecting the stories of passengers, crew, and designers and builders to create a comprehensive online oral history of the ship.

If you would like to contribute, please forward your stories using the Contact Us form on the website. Be sure to include your year(s) of service or travel. Please provide your hometown if you are willing to disclose it.

Crewmember Stories

Joe Borelli, Radio Operator circa 1964
Submitted by George Keller, Port Jervis NY

I worked with Joe Borelli at the CBS TV transmitter in NY’s Empire State Building when I first started at CBS 42 years ago along with "Ace" and Bob Strutzel and Frank Beatty and a few others. Later Joe was in Video Tape while I was in VT maintenance. Needless to say Joe was one of the best on CW.

Prior to CBS Joe was the Radio Officer on the first and only U.S. nuclear powered merchant marine vessel, the N.S. Savannah. On a number of occasions she [the Savannah] was in Bremerhaven Germany while I was stationed there. The word around my Navy group was that they were giving tours of her but, for some reason, every time I was either at work or doing something which prevented me from taking one of the tours. It turns out that Joe was the guy giving the tours. He told me it was because he was a big good-looking Italian guy with great personality.

Obituary (NY Times): BORELLI Joseph W., 85, of Fair Lawn, NJ on Saturday, June 20, 2009.
Born and raised in New York, Joe resided in Long Island before moving to Fair Lawn over 30 years ago. He earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from New York City College and proudly served with the Merchant Marines during World War II. Joe was also a member of the Ham Radio Operators Association. Prior to retiring in 1988, he had been an electrical engineer with CBS Television in New York City for 25 years. Interment at George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, NJ.

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