Scenic USA - North Carolina

USS North Carolina

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USS North Carolina - Wilmington, North Carolina

Photo by Dr. Alan R. Peslak

   Honored with 15 battle stars over its years of service, the USS North Carolina was the first newly constructed battleship to enter World War II. Fourth of a line of American ships to be named after the state, the USS North Carolina spent her entire World War II service life in the Pacific Theater, participating in every major battle against opposing Japanese forces.
   After its decommission in 1947, the battleship was placed in the Inactive Reserve Fleet, and eventually sold to the state of North Carolina. A 1960s program, called Save our Ship, was a key fund-raiser to help purchase the ship. School children contributed their spare change and part of their lunch money to meet the 330,000 dollar price tag. The 778 foot long ship was carefully moved into the port at Wilmington, serving as a powerful tribute to 10,000 North Carolinians who paid the ultimate price in service to their country.
   Open for public tours every day of the year, a special day on October, 2011, marked the 50th anniversary of the battleship’s arrival to her final destination. Admission prices for that day reflected the entrance fees of 50 years ago - 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children.
   Today, the USS North Carolina is in desperate need of hull restoration. The Generations Campaign summons all hands on deck to raise enough money to replace the paper-thin hull. Efforts are now in work to construct a new memorial walkway and cofferdam around the hull, keeping the ship in Wilmington and enabling crews to install new hull plates just below the waterline. The battleship not only provides a memorial for all service personnel, but a living classroom for 250,000 annual visitors, relating lessons in history, science, mathematics and engineering.

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