Battleship North Carolina
One of America's most famed
warships, the U.S.S.
received 15 battle
stars during World War II. - Battleship U.S.S. North Carolina
U.S.S. North Carolina
The massive guns of the battleship now aim
peacefully out over the historic coastal city of
Wilmington, North Carolina.
Kingfisher Floatplane
The plane now displayed
aboard the U.S.S.
is one of only seven
still in existence.
Full Speed Ahead!
Visitors can tour not only the
main deck, but much of the
interior of the historic warship.
A Powerful Warship
The symbols seen today on
North Carolina recognize
her confirmed 24 shootdowns
of enemy aircraft and sinking
of a Japanese troop transport.
U.S.S. North Carolina - Wilmington, North Carolina
Famed Warship of World War II
Photos by Heather LaBone
Commissioned on April 9, 1941, as part of
the U.S. military buildup in the face of a
raging world war that it had not yet entered,
the U.S.S.
North Carolina was then the
greatest naval weapon in the world.

The ship now rests in a peaceful mooring
across the Cape Fear River from the historic
city of Wilmington, North Carolina. It is a
serene and beautiful setting far removed
from the actions at sea that made the
one of America's most famous

The first of ten fast battleships to join the U.S.
fleet during World War II, the
North Carolina
carried nine 16-inch guns and twenty 5-inch
guns. With her speed and armament, she
was a formidable weapon of war that was
crewed by 144 commissioned officers and
2,195 enlisted sailors and Marines.

Sent to the Pacific theater, the U.S.S.
took part in every major naval
campaign of World War II. By the end of the
war, she had earned 15 battle stars. In heavy
combat, she sank an enemy troopship,
downed at least 24 enemy aircraft and took
part in nine bombardments of Japanese
shore positions. The ship lost 10 men killed
and 67 wounded in these actions.

The ship was a noted protector of the aircraft
carrier U.S.S.
Enterprise and at the Battle of
the Eastern Solomon's, her anti-aircraft guns
helped save the vital carrier from destruction
by Japanese planes.

In addition to her armament, the
was equipped with two Kingfisher
floatplanes that launched from catapults on
the stern of the battleship. These aircraft
performed a variety of duties such as helping
to direct the fire of the big ship's guns. In April
of 1944, however, one of the Kingfishers from
North Carolina participated in one of the
most heroic acts of World War II.

Descending through heavy enemy fire, the
crew of a U.S.S.
North Carolina Kingfisher
successfully rescued ten downed U.S. pilots
during the attack on Truk.

The daring rescue was repeated just one
year later when a floatplane from the
battleship flew through heavy barrages of fire
from the Japanese mainland to rescue
another downed pilot.
When World War II ended in 1945, the U.S.S.
North Carolina served briefly as a training
ship for midshipmen. Decommissioned on
June 27, 1947, after only seven years of
service, she was sent to New Jersey where
she lay for fourteen years as part of the U.S.
Navy's Inactive Reserve Fleet.

In 1958, the Navy announced plans to scrap
North Carolina. The announcement sent
shock waves through the state for which she
was named and an outcry erupted. Citizens
of North Carolina launched an SOS (Save
Our Ship) Campaign and the Navy relented.

The U.S.S.
North Carolina arrived in
Wilmington where she was dedicated as
North Carolina's memorial to its World War II
veterans in 1962.

Located opposite Wilmington's historic
waterfront, the ship can be reached by either
water taxi or car. To drive to the parking lot
just take the U.S. 76 bridge over the Cape
Fear River from Wilmington and watch for the

The ship is open daily, but hours vary from 8
a.m. to 8 p.m. in the summer to 8 a.m. to 5
p.m. in the winter. The admission price is
$12 for adults, $10 for active Military and
seniors and $6 for children ages 6 to 11 and
Be sure to click here to visit the North
Carolina's outstanding website for more
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.