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USS NC Submarine docks at State Port

READ MORE: Southport welcomes USS NC sub
SOUTHPORT -- Another high profile visitor came up the Cape Fear River this afternoon. Wilmington is home to two North Carolinas tonight: the battleship and America's newest nuclear submarine. The new North Carolina will be commissioned here on Saturday. With the help of two tugs pushing piggy back on the perpendicular, the sub, also known by the navy as SSN 777, docked smoothly at the port. The navy and Coast Guard made an overtly strong show of security on the dock and along the river. A host of local dignitaries and the Hoggard High Marching band provided the welcome as Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo beamed. While it is certainly special to have the sub here in the city of Wilmington, it also holds special meaning to people in other parts of our area. Three cannon shots sounded the traditional salute to the USS North Carolina as it passed by Southport, its conning tower plowing through the Cape Fear River. Elmer Norwood remembered his days on a submarine, The Thornback. The Vietnam era vet says the first time he ever saw Southport was through a periscope. Norwood said, "I can feel a little bit of what the fellas on the submarine are feeling right now." Many waited for hours just to see the submarine pass. Some were surprised by its majestic beauty. "Folks in Southport can still remember the day in 1961 when the battleship NC passed through these waters. So the newest NC passing through is particularly important because of the town's rich maritime history," Norwood said. NC Maritime Museum historian Jim McKee said, "Looking through some of the pictures of that day it's amazing how things have changed; it's also amazing the excitement that people still have." There have actually been five ships named USS North Carolina before this one. "The North Carolina today passed right by the grave of the confederate vessel and she'll be within sight of her latest namesake," McKee said. Everyone who lives here knows where the last battleship with that name rests, and now, with the latest ship to bear our state's name, future generations are watching history in the making. The sub's captain Mark Davis said they heard the cannon blasts aboard the sub.

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My son is part of the crew

I was committed by the county authorities in the 1980's for alcoholism and they used that to deny my participation in a ceremony that included my son in a warship that will be used to protect this nations security in the future. So I could not go. So I went elsewhere and wish my son the best. But I have heard that some thousands of dollars were spent buying those passes and traded by Laura Pagettt and others that had them to give away just kills me. I could have been there for my son and they were selling political favoritism. I hope they die in hell.


The public was not asking to board The Ship for we are much smarter than that, but not beening able to even get a visual. Really poor handling by those in Charge. Security was a poor excuse for the public not being able to view it. Just think about it for moment.

Open to public??

I whole heartedly support the Familys venturing down to Wilmington to see there love ones based on the sub BUTT I am a US VETERAN and have just the much right as the family members do to see there TAX dollars at work. It belongs to the Citizens of the United States not just a selected FEW. And this has been in the planning for awhile, NO excuse for the public not to attend.


I am a family member of one of the sailors on the sub and i'm coming all the way from Tennessee to see this. The reason it's not open to the public is because alot of the sailors FAMILY members are coming to see their children that they probably haven't see in months. Quit complaining and let us enjoy our time. I'm sure if there were more room and seating options that it would be open to the public. Find out more information before you put down the Navy (which SHOULD be respected) or any other person/persons you have insulted just because you cannot attend.

Not to vent at you but room

Not to vent at you but room and seating give us a break. The thing has been here for a week and it could have been handled different by those in charge. Hope you enjoyed seeing your family member and had or having a good time in the area. I know what it is like being away from your family for I spent 21+ years in Service myself with many deployments.

What do you mean "quit

What do you mean "quit complaining"? We have EVERY right to complain! It's our ship and we can't even see it! I was thinking about trying to see it from my boat but the Coast Guard has the waterways on strict lock down and you can't even go past it without stopping or without an escort. From where its docked, the general public (which paid for the submarine by the way) can't see it period! Telling us to "quit complaining" is like saying you bought a $5,000,000 Gulfstream G5 jet and can't even use it! Its not right and its not fair to those who really wanted to see it (including myself). I watched the ceremony just now and the 6,000 people there didn't seem like much. They could have easily allowed three times that many to go see the commissioning.


I am a family member of one of the sailors on the sub and i'm coming all the way from Tennessee to see this. The reason it's not open to the public is because alot of the sailors FAMILY members are coming to see their children that they probably haven't see in months. Quit complaining and let us enjoy our time. I'm sure if there were more room and seating options that it would be open to the public.


I hope you enjoyed your first trip out of Tennessee

Typical Navy

This is a Navy thing you just won't understand. You know...just like 120 men down, 60 couples up.

what a crock

All we have heard about this submarine was all hype and the general public cannot go see what we paid for?...what a crock.....I want my money back


It is sad that the general public cannot be included in such a historical event.. From the looks of the Coast Guard jetting around on the river and their attitude to begin with, I'm scared to take my boat anywhere near it. (That is if they have not closed the channel yet....) I was out Sunday morning with my wife and little girl and drove by the port and as usual the Caost Guard (which I am VERY thankful for) was manning security at the ports. Beiung thankful on both trips by, we gave a short wave to the helmsmen. No wave back.. I guess things sure are serious at the ports... Sunny Point has less external security than the ports do, (The East coast's largest ammo depot) Yet my children cannot see the comissioning of a submarine... What a joke.. I too, am so glad that my tax dollars are paying for something that I am not privy to...


Why did they wait until the last minute to tell us the commissioning was for country club members only? No consideration for Navy veterans or other veterans and even less for the general public.

Just another "Private Thingy

Just another "Private Thingy Social Celebration Party" for a week that was for the politicians and their buddies. You elected them. If you don't like it. VOTE them OUT. Who do you think paid for all of this week long celebration? The politicians and their buddies that enjoyed ALL of the "FREE FUN AND GLORY"? They should have since it was "PRIVATE. You get the privilege of paying for their party. Aren't you lucky?


All we've heard for months now was that it was coming here. Now everything is closed to the public. Let it go to Morehead or Norfolk.


Heck, even Obama could not get in to visit the Sub, or maybe he did care enough to visit.


I agree totally, let it go somewhere else, I have heard about it and planned to go, now I find out that I can't. Who cares that it is here! I don't anymore.

Access to the submarine and commissioning ceremony is closed

Access to the submarine and commissioning ceremony is closed to the public. Again we the public are left out. Isn't funny they made all the fuss to get the commissioning ceremony in Wilmington and they only the big wheels around the state can go.. Why should we the tax payer be paying for this. Make the big wheels pay or make it available to everyone. I will not vote for any of the big wheels that show up..


This makes no sense what so ever. We ( the public ) own the vessel USS North Carolina. It was from our tax dollars that paid to build this submarine. I think that it is very sorry of our goverment to close the ceremony off to the public that paid to have the vessel built. What makes our leaders more important than us? Why do they get to be a part of something that our blood and sweat paid for? Just remember when it comes times for thier reelection that they will be asking for us to put them into office just so they can screw us again with all of their lies and bullshit. They need to take that sub and shove it up their ass and take it back to Norfolk

Frustrated as well...

It really is a big let down after all the hype. I understand it is a good thing to have it commissioned here but let the people that paid for it enjoy it as well. I also understand the security issues here as I used to work on the Navel base in Norfolk but dang! Sure would have been nice to get a better view of it aside from it coming up the river, which I missed because of a little thing called work.... Oh well.....

What security issues

What security issues are they worried about. All they have to do is close the hatches and no one can get in. Myabe, they are scared someone will throw a rock at it and it will sink.. Come on now lets really think about this. It is not for the low life they call tax payers..

That's because most of those big wheels...

...who never served one minute in the Naval Sevices are more important (in their minds) than the thousands of retired sailors and Marines in the area. After all the buildup and hoopla, one has to wonder exactly WHAT anyone beside those puffed up megalomaniacs gets out of this. There's minimal benefit to the Navy, none to the crew, and certainly no benefit to John Q. Public who had the door slammed in his face with a hearty, "Get lost. peasant!"