10 Facts About The USS North Carolina – The US Navy’s First Fast Battleship

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The USS North Carolina was the lead ship of the North Carolina-class battleships. She was also the first American battleship that was newly constructed to enter service during World War II.

Here are ten interesting facts about the USS North Carolina- the US Navy’s first fast battleship: 

1. She was one of the most highly decorated American battleships of World War II

It managed to accumulate 15 battle stars, taking part in every major US Naval offensive campaign in the Pacific Theater during the war.

2. To save weight, the USS North Carolina was built using the new technique of welded construction

It features four main spaces containing two boilers and one steam turbine in each. The main space was responsible for driving four shafts in the ship. 

This arrangement would decrease the total number of openings in the ship’s bulkheads, saved space, and the ship’s overall weight. 

3. The ship had a lot of close calls and near misses

The USS North Carolina was hit by a Japanese torpedo in September 1942. Fortunately, a quick response from her crew ensured that she remained operational and keep up with the fleet. 

4. The USS Carolina was built using the latest shipbuilding technology

She was limited to a standard displacement of 35,000 long tons to a beam of less than 11ft by the width of the locks of the Panama Canal, and a draft of no more than 38 feet to allow it to use as many anchorages and shipyards as possible. Overall, she was a bit of a challenge to design.

5. She earned the nickname, “Showboat” 

The ship had gotten so much attention during her completion and sea trials that she was nicknamed Showboat. 

6. By the war’s end, she only lost ten men in action

There were also only sixty-seven who have been wounded. Yet despite this, the Japanese claimed at least six times that they’ve sunk the battleship. 

7. She was decommissioned after the war 

The USS Carolina was decommissioned on June 1947. However, she remained in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in Bayonne, New Jersey until it was announced that she will be scrapped.

8. A statewide campaign was started to save the ship, and she was eventually transferred to Wilmington

Upon hearing the news, citizens of North Carolina started a campaign to bring the battleship home, and then preserve it instead as a war memorial. The ship was eventually brought back to Wilmington.

9. The USS North Carolina eventually became the museum in 1962

She arrived in North Carolina over twenty years after being commissioned, becoming the Battleship North Carolina Museum.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, a couple of special events and tours are being held on this legendary warship, including the anniversary of her arrival in Wilmington.

10. Visitors can tour the ship’s main deck, interior compartments, and gun turrets

Usually, there’s an admission fee, and self-guided tours can last up to two hours. Visitors can also see one of the nine surviving OS2U Kingfisher aircraft in the world, found the ship’s stern. This plane was salvaged from a Canadian mountainside and donated to the museum.