Memorial and Museum – USS North Carolina
Posted on 23 May ’12 by Earl Moore
Our stay in WIlmington, NC, happened to be across the Cape Fear River from the USS North Carolina Battleship museum. Our time didn’t allow a trip over to the ship but I took these photos of her stern during late evening sun.
A few facts about the USS North Carolina you may or may not know.
“She was the first new-construction U.S. battleship to enter service during World War II, participating in every major naval offensive in the Pacific theater to become the highest decorated US battleship of the Second World War with 15 battle stars. North Carolina joined the long island-hopping campaign against the Japanese by assisting in the landing of Marines on Guadalcanal and Tulagi 7 August 1942, beginning the Guadalcanal campaign. She was the only battleship in this naval contingent, accompanied by the carriers Saratoga, Enterprise, and Wasp, along with their cruisers and other escorts. One of the main duties of a battleship serving as an escort for a carrier is to provide abundant anti-aircraft fire. During one such battle the sheer volume of anti-aircraft fire the USS North Carolina was putting up was such as to lead Enterprise to query, “Are you afire?” Near the end of WWII the USS North Carolina joined the carriers for a month of air strikes and naval bombardment on the Japanese home islands. Along with guarding the carriers, North Carolina fired on major industrial plants near Tokyo, and her scout plane pilots performed a daring rescue of a downed carrier pilot under heavy fire in Tokyo Bay. She was decommissioned in 1947 and in 1962 was dedicated at Wilmington, NC, as a memorial and museum.” ~ Wikipedia
In the above photo you can see a Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane on one of the launch catapults. This is one of only nine Kingfisher floatplanes known to still exist. The USS North Carolina normally carried a compliment of three. These planes were used for scouting, air reconnaissance and occasionally air/sea rescue. They would taken off into the wind from one of two catapults and then land upon the water to be lifted via the stern crane back upon the ship.
The second photo is a close up of the 16″ aft main guns. These guns could hurl a 2000lb+ high explosive shell over 20 miles giving a battleship of this class with 9 main guns the second heaviest broadside of all battleship classes. Only the Japanese Yamato-class super dreadnoughts could throw more weight.
These seemed fitting photos for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.