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Battleship USS North Carolina Still Serving Her Country

Updated on December 6, 2007

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.

U.S. Navy Photo From 1946
U.S. Navy Photo From 1946

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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      Andrew Borrrell 7 years ago

      She made it thrugh many Navel battles during WWII. SHE HELD UP HER OWN because of the men that sreved on her. That is to say that all that served on her her were great men. All of you guys and gals that served durig that time were. We as a nation should visit her and give respect to the ones that served on her and all that gave their all for us as a nation. Be it A,,N or M. I know that brfore this date the US Air Force was known as the Army Air C. Not to make any less of what the airmen have given us such as NASA, records in higth of flight ,speed and things that I will never know of. I am given thanks to U U U U U U U U U U all. THANKS FOR GIVEN ME MY FREEDOMS. PLEASE DO NOT LET ANYTHING HAPPEN TO US. MY HART IS OUT TO YOU GUYS AND GALS. ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU, AND AGAIN THANK YOU. I CAN NOT SAY IT TO MANY TIMES!!!!!! i HAVE A FREEDOM THAT NO OTHER PART OF THE WORLD WILL HAVE, BECAUSE YOU MEN AND WOMEN LOOK OUT FOR me AND US. THANK YOU SO VERRY MUCH!!!! I KNOW THAT YOU "GUYS" DO NOT HEAR IT OFTEN BUT THANKS.

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      Gadgeteer 7 years ago

      Splendid class of Battleships, her sistership Washington also did very well at Guadalcanal. I'll be adding both to my Battleship models site.

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      Corina  8 years ago


      I been there before it was great

      it is good that you are denfending your country still

      I'm 13 years old

      and God Bless you all!!!!!

    • profile image

      MayberryNC 8 years ago

      Thanks...You should tour the USS N.C. also if you get a chance.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 8 years ago from America

      Very interesting about this ship. Nice that it was saved by school children. We toured the Battleship U.S.S. ALABAMA in Mobil. Enjoyed it the kids loved it. Great hub.

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      Emily 9 years ago

      I like the USS battleship.