WWII veteran revisits ship decades after serving on USS North Carolina

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A special visitor stopped by the USS North Carolina, a World War II Veteran who took a long-awaited walk down memory lane aboard the ship.

It’s been 50 years since his last visit to the vessel he served on.

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“I like every bit of this, very nice,” WWII veteran Pat Fonzi said.

At age 18 Pat Fonzi first stepped foot on the USS North Carolina and now decades later at nearly 95-years-old he revisited the ship he once served on.

“I was happy, everything looks beautiful. Now I can rest a lot different now. I know everything is going to be nice. I said I did my job, so did a lot of other people. So now I can rest a lot better now.”



Fonzi served on the ship from 1941 to 1945, a choice he made in order to travel the world.  His favorite place he could not stop talking about was Tahiti.

“You can’t imagine a place that beautiful. Oh just like heaven,” Fonzi said.

After sharing stories about his journey at sea aboard the ship Fonzi checked out photos, his old sleeping quarters and while also being recognized and honored for his service.

But the highlight of his trip was showing his great-grandchildren his former bunk.

“Great-great pap-pap they call me, so now when they go to school 5th, 6th grade they start their history and all that they’ll understand your great-grandfather see he fought in that war,” Fonzi said.

As Fonzi thinks back to his days on the showboat as a gun captain, he would not change a thing. Ending the day feeling like he was eighteen again.

“Very, very happy the way things turned out and I’m really excited and happy. I’m really happy,” Fonzi said.

Fonzi and his family traveled from Pennsylvania to the Port City for their visit. The Battleship also hosted their memorial dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.