Battleship North Carolina
When the keel of north carolina was laid in october of 1937, she was the first battleship to be constructed in sixteen years. She became the first of ten fast battleships to join american fleet in world war ii. North carolina (bb 55) and her sister ship, washington (bb 56), comprised the north carolina class. Following them were the south dakota class - south dakota (bb 57), indiana (bb 58), massachusetts (bb 59), and alabama (bb 60) - and the iowa class - iowa (bb 61), new jersey (bb 62), missouri (bb 63), and wisconsin (bb 64).
At the time of her commissioning on 9 april 1941, she was considered the world's greatest sea weapon. Armed with nine 16-inch/45 caliber guns in three turrets and twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts, north carolina proved a formidable weapons platform. Her wartime complement consisted of 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted men, including about 100 marines.
During world war ii, north carolina participated in every major naval offensive in the pacific area of operations and earned 15 battle stars. In the battle of the eastern solomon's in august of 1942, the battleship's anti-aircraft barrage helped save the carrier enterprise, thereby establishing the primary role of the fast battleship as protector of aircraft carriers. One of her kingfisher pilots performed heroically during the strike on truk when he rescued ten downed navy aviators on 30 april 1944. In all, north carolina carried out nine shore bombardments, sank an enemy troopship, destroyed at least 24 enemy aircraft, and assisted in shooting down many more. Her anti-aircraft guns helped halt or frustrate scores of attacks on aircraft carriers. She steamed over 300,000 miles. Although japanese radio announcements claimed six times that north carolina had been sunk, she survived many close calls and near misses with one hit when a japanese torpedo slammed into the battleship's hull on 15 september 1942. A quick response on the part of the crew allowed the mighty ship to keep up with the fleet. By war's end, the ship lost only ten men in action and had 67 wounded.
After serving as a training vessel for midshipmen, north carolina was decommissioned 27 june 1947 and placed in the inactive reserve fleet in bayonne, new jersey, for the next 14 years.Â In 1958 the announcement of her impending scrapping led to a statewide campaign by citizens of north carolina to save the ship from the scrappers torches and bring her back to her home state. The save our ship (sos) campaign was successful and the battleship arrived in her current berth on 2 october 1961.Â She was dedicated on 29 april 1962 as the state's memorial to its world war ii veterans and the 10,000 north carolinians who died during the war.
We really enjoyed our visit. We took our 13 yr old grandson & our 18 yr old granddaughter & her boyfriend. Our granddaughter was fussing about going, but once there they were all impressed with it's size. After reading some of the history about the ship, we boarded. The more we moved around topside the more the older kids started to get interested. It's amazing how much you can learn from trips like this. Going below deck you get to see what life was really like for the sailors. All the kids were finally fully in to it. We ended up spending several hours going through the ship. It was fairly hot out when we went. While the ship itself doesn't have a/c, they do have fans throughout to keep the air circulating. They also have a nice gift shop, it has a/c. The kids talked about the trip for several days and they continue to talk about it. My father was a Navy man during WWII & I enjoyed a chance to see a ship similar to what he served on.
This is a must-see in Wilmington! I couldn’t believe how much we got to explore on the ship. We got to climb down ladders into the inside of the ship and see where the sailors used to eat and sleep! We loved reading the various stories and memories throughout the ship. There was an awesome volunteer that showed us around the dental and medical area of the ship- this made our visit extra special! Thank you!
There is so much more than just jaw-dropping Americana here. People of all ages and both men and woman can appreciate all that is offered. So thankful to all the men and woman who have devoted so much to make such an astounding tribute to our American history. Feels so surreal when walking up to the battleship, almost as if you weren't allowed to see such an immensely powerful weapon of untold capability that words alone truthfully cannot do justice. Yet, because of many, many effort through the years we are all very much welcome to tour the entire ship which is not the usual. I have seen all the big battleships short of Massachusetts, and the crew of the big North Carolina have done an unequivocally job at restoring her and opening almost the entire ship, all her national secrets are for our eyes to feast upon.
If you're in Wilmington this is a must see. We've been a few times and our daughters (now aged 7 and 10) really enjoyed the whole experience. There's a great combination of history and tactile experiences where they could learn about life aboard a battleship and really get in the weeds and explore the entire thing. Recommend coming out on a cool day as it gets pretty hot inside the ship.
Second time taking my son, elementary age. We have loved it each time. Pleasant staff. Worth the visit. So great to learn about WW II history, and about those that sacrificed for our country/world. They are doing some sprucing up now. Last time it was great to see the ribbons the ship earned while in battles. Recommend highly!
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