Battleship USS North Carolina Still Serving Her Country
Moored on the Cape Fear River across from downtown Wilmington, NC, the battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55) is still serving her country today as a memorial to North Carolinians from all branches of service who gave their lives during World War II.
At the time it was commissioned in April of 1941, the combination of high speed and powerful armament that the North Carolina possessed made it the leader in a new generation of battleships. She was considered to be a sign of the determination of Americans to win the war and the increasing industrial prowess that would assist in making victory a reality. So much attention was given the battleship during trials that she picked up the nickname "Showboat." The sight of the new battleship sailing into Pearl Harbor in July of 1942 provided a significant morale boost to sailors after several Japanese victories in the Pacific. The North Carolina then began its service in the war against Japan up until their surrender in 1945.
During the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in August of 1942, her strong showing established that the fast battleship could serve as a protector of aircraft carriers. The North Carolina received 15 battle stars for World War II service and possesses the top record for any battleship that survived the war in the Pacific. From Guadalcanal to Tokyo Bay, she was active in every major naval offensive in the Pacific.
After being inactivated, the North Carolina was decommissioned in 1947. In 1960, a public drive, which was largely composed of donations from schoolchildren in North Carolina, raised the necessary money to purchase the ship from the US Navy. The USS North Carolina is now a National Historic Landmark and is in excellent condition. Still retaining all World War II integrity, the ship is essentially the same as it was when the war ended. It includes a restored Kingfisher plane, similar to the three original Kingfishers that were on the ship. Currently painted in a camouflage scheme used during World War II, the battleship provides an accurate portrayal of life onboard the ship during the period it was in active service. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the main deck of the ship, several interior rooms, some of the gun turrets, and view rotating exhibits.
Since the ship is a memorial, the Battleship North Carolina is open every day of the year, including holidays.
Summer Hours (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day) 8:00am - 8:00pm, excluding Independence Day, when the ship closes at 6:00pm to prepare for a fireworks display.
Winter Hours (After Labor Day weekend through the Thursday before the Memorial Day weekend) 8:00am - 5:00pm, excluding Christmas, when the memorial does not open until noon.
Phone: (910) 251-5797
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