USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial
|Bell from the 2nd USS North Carolina (ACR-12)|
In 1920, the third USS North Carolina (BB-52) was laid down in Norfolk. However, the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty ended construction on this new battleship and she was sold for scrap the following year.
In 1937, the USS North Carolina (BB-55) was laid down at the New York Naval Ship Yard. After nearly three years of construction, the battleship was launched in June 1940. The ship was commissioned in April of 1941 - eight months before Pearl Harbor. From June of 1942 through the duration of the war, she served in the Pacific Theater earning 15 battle stars. The battleship would be decommissioned in 1947. The current warship to carry the North Carolina name is the SSN-777 Virginia class attack submarine. Launched in 2007, the submarine received commission in 2008 and is currently in active service.
|Example of the Save our Ship Campaign from 1958.|
|A surviving Vought OS2U Kingfisher float plane. The battleship carried three of these plane which would be catapulted from her fintail. This aircraft is one of nine surviving OS2U Kingfishers.|
For over 50 years, the USS North Carolina has called Wilmington home and has been open for generations of families from all over to appreciate her size, power, and more importantly the over 2,300 men who served on this ship. During World War II, the North Carolina served in the Pacific Theater and escorted numerous aircraft carriers such as the Enterprise, Saratoga and Wasp. At the war's end, the North Carolina had only suffered the loss of ten men and saw 67 wounded. (2)
Today, the Battleship offers self-guided and three different guided tours. General admission ranges from $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-11, and children 5 and under are free. The guided tours are at an additional cost. There are numerous annual and special events held here. In July 2017, the ship hosted the live theatrical performance of "Mister Roberts" on its fantail.
|Example of the 16" artillery shells that were fired from the main battery.|
The USS North Carolina is one of the best historical attractions within the state. Even though it took me 17 years to finally visit it, I guarantee it won't be another 17 years until the next time I go back.
All photos taken by post author, September 24, 2017.
Sources & Links:
- USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial
- (1) Sneed, Brandon. "Saving the Battleship North Carolina." Our State. 13 November 2010.
- (2) "History." Battleship North Carolina. Accessed September 27, 2017.