On October 2, 1961, The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA came to Wilmington. The mighty ship opened to the public just a couple of weeks later.
At the time of her commissioning on April 9, 1941, she was considered the world’s greatest sea weapon. During World War II, NORTH CAROLINA participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific area of operations and earned 15 battle stars.
The battleship survived many close calls and near misses with one hit when a Japanese torpedo slammed into the Battleship’s hull on 15 September 1942. A quick response on the part of the crew allowed the mighty ship to keep up with the fleet. By war’s end, the battleship lost only ten men in action and had 67 wounded.
After serving as a training vessel for midshipmen, NORTH CAROLINA was decommissioned in 1947.
In 1958 the announcement of her impending scrapping led to a statewide campaign by citizens of North Carolina to save the ship and bring her back to her home state. The campaign included a special effort among North Carolina’s school children, and of the 1.1 million children in school at the time, 700,000 gave at least a dime. The Battleship remains there today, standing sentinel in the Cape Fear River, one of 27 State Historic Sites.
For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources at www.ncdcr.gov.