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U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship Memorial

The U.S.S. North Carolina is an amazing stop on a weekend in Wilmington. The size of the battleship alone is impressive and the size of the guns shows the power of the Navy. For most this is a rare opportunity to see a large war machine up close.

The U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship was laid down in 1937 and joined the American Fleet in World War II. Her wartime complement consisted of 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted men, including about 100 Marines. During World War II, the U.S.S. North Carolina participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific area of operations and earned 15 battle stars. The battleship was decommissioned in June 1947. 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. She was dedicated on 29 April 1962 as the State’s memorial to its World War II veterans and the 11,000 North Carolinians who died during the war.

The self-guided tour gives a look at how the men lived on the ship and what it might have been like to be on it during the war.

Inside the gun turret was interesting as much for the power of the weapon as the complexity of mechanism used to fire it. The 360° image shows the cramped quarters. There were three of these large turrets on the battleship.

The U.S.S. North Carolina is a must stop in Wilmington. The tour is a lot of fun and informative. It is good for all ages and while there is a little walking and stairs it isn’t overly strenuous. This is definitely a stop worth making.

Bonus – these planes – I think they are Osprey flew over while we were on our tour.