New documentary on Battleship just in time for Memorial Day


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As Memorial Day approaches, we’re getting a fresh look into the past of North Carolina’s World War II Memorial.

Everyone in Wilmington knows the Battleship North Carolina, but how much do you know about it? A new documentary “Battleship North Carolina: The Showboat Legacy” explores both the past and present of the USS North Carolina.

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“It’s really the whole picture of the history of the Battleship,” documentary director Rob Hill said.

Hill grew up in Wilmington. He says he played on the Battleship as a kid.

“It’s so many different things to so many different people,” he said. “To the World War II veterans that served on it it was this warship. It was home.”

The project took about 18 months to complete compiling rare photos, vintage film footage and nearly 25 hours of interviews. A large portion of the film is dedicated to the men who served on the ship during World War II.

“Those people are so important to her legacy today,” Hill said.

Hill says the film is helping to preserve the legacy behind the Battleship’s story, but in order to preserve the ship itself, it needs constant upkeep.

“Everything from the cleaning to the day-to-day painting and preservation, and last year we painted the entire ship, which took us about five months,” Battleship Executive Director Capt. Terry Bragg said.

Crews are currently working on replacing a large section of the steel hull, which should take about six months to complete. But that’s not the only change ahead for the state’s world war two memorial. A shorter version of the documentary will serve as the new introductory video for Battleship tours.

“The new, current video is a people story,” Bragg said. “It is those people, you know, the blood sweat and tears they gave to making this the memorial this is today.”

The documentary premiers on UNC-TV Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

The Battleship hosts a Memorial Day event Monday at 5:45 p.m. Speakers include Gov. Bev Perdue and Sen. Kay Hagan.