North Carolina People, Places, and Things-March 8
I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.
In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.
For Christmas I received an Apple TV and Netflix account from my family. I have use both occasionally but on Sunday evening after a day trip to Wilmington NC I went searching and watched three programs. One of the shows I watched was a 1957 movie called “The Enemy Below”.
The movie plot was during World War II, an American destroyer meets a German U-Boat. Both captains are good ones, and the engagement lasts for a considerable time.
That movie made me wonder about the Battleship North Carolina which I had passed on Sunday driving over the Cape Fear River Bridge coming in and out of Wilmington, NC. I went searching to learn about the Battleship North Carolina.
The Battleship North Carolina sitting on the west bank of the Cape Fear River across from Downtown Wilmington NC.
In her career the ship steamed 300,000 mile from 1941 until 1947. The USS North Carolina is nearly 730 feet in length and could hit top speeds of 28 knots.
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, the USS 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.
Photo of ENTERPRISE during WWII.
After serving as a training vessel for midshipmen, the USS NORTH CAROLINA was decommissioned 27 June 1947 and placed in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in Bayonne, New Jersey, for the next 14 years. 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.
Admission to the Battleship North Carolina is $14.00 for adults and the tour is self-guided and is well-marked. Most reviews I read on TripAdvisor suggested allowing at least two hours for the tour.