USS NORTH CAROLINA (BB-55)
Class: North Carolina
Length: 728 feet, 9 inches
The first of ten fast battleships built by the United States that saw service in World War II, North Carolina set a standard for new shipbuilding technology that combined high speed with powerful armament. Her superior performance during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in August 1942 established the primary role of the fast battleship as a protector of the aircraft carrier. Her resiliency to battle damage was proven just a month later in the same area when North Carolina sustained a hit from a Japanese torpedo. Despite an 18 by 32 foot hole in her side, and following a short period to counterflood, she resumed a speed of 25 knots to regain position to protect her assigned aircraft carrier. North Carolina is the most decorated U.S. battleship of World War II with 15 battle stars, having participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific from Guadalcanal to Tokyo Bay. She is also credited with kills of 24 aircraft, a merchantman and the bombardment of nine Imperial Japanese strongholds.
In 1947, "The Showboat" was decommissioned and placed in the reserve fleet in Bayonne, New Jersey. In 1960, a public subscription drive which received broad statewide support, including nickels and dimes from 700,000 school children, raised over $325,000 to save the ship from the scrappers torches and provide a permanent home for the ship. Now moored on the Cape Fear River just across from downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. The battleship North Carolina is the memorial for the 10,000 North Carolinians (men & women) of all the armed services who gave their lives in WW II. It is also a growing museum and a major tourist attraction. Painted in her most distinctive Measure 32 camouflage scheme of the war, with many spaces open and interpreted for visitors, and with changing exhibits, the battleship accurately depicts shipboard life of the period for visitors to experience.
USS North Carolina is a National Historic Landmark.
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