Staring down the deck of a World War II battleship is as exhilarating as it looks! Just over the river near Downtown Wilmington is where the U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship is docked in all her American glory. It’s one of the main attractions I was looking forward to seeing the most on our day trip!
Commissioned in 1941, the North Carolina Battleship was considered the world’s greatest sea weapon earning her the nickname, “Showboat.” She was one of the fastest battleships to serve in World War II. The North Carolina Battleship was stationed in the Pacific during the war. Her participation in every major naval offensive earned her 15 battle stars.
This museum ship allows guests to walk on board and take a look around. There our guided tours but you can also walk through on your own. We opted for the self-guided tour so we would have a little more freedom and take the museum in our own pace.
We decided to start below deck in the ship’s bakery. This is where the men made fresh bread and pastries. The Navy believed that this simple luxury was a way to treat the hard working soliders during the war.
We walked through the mess hall and the kitchen space on the ship before entering the engine room a few stairs below. It gets a bit claustrophobic walking down the stairs and through the engine room. Trying to navigate these narrow and steep stairways proved to be challenging!
The lighting was pretty terrible below deck. Trying to get detailed shot was a challenge! The engine room was pretty cool. There are gadgets and gizmos all over the place!
We ventured through the narrow ship hallways down stopping at each and every exhibit area. First up, the post office!
Here’s an interesting fact: the ship chopped and destroyed all the trash on board so the enemy couldn’t track their trail. The American ships where the only vessels with this capability.
We walked through the sleeping quarters which consisted of bunks upon bunks of bed crates for the men to sleep in. It was all very cramped and pretty crowded!
We got lost a few times while touring around the below decks but it made for good laughs! Finally, we emerged back onto the deck to check out the artillery on board. It’s truly incredible seeing the machine guns on the ship.
The Japanese claimed to have sunk the North Carolina six times! However, the battle ship was hit once with a torpedo on her port side which killed 5 men and wounded 23. The ship took on enough water to start listing to one side. But the men on board dove into action and counter-acted the flooding by intentionally flooding compartments on the opposite side of the ship to get her upright again.
Decommissioned in 1947, Battleship North Carolina was originally intended to be used for scrap metal in 1958. A campaign was launched called Save Our Ship. This campaign petitioned to bring the battleship to North Carolina as a memorial for the men from the state who served onboard.
You can look straight across the Cape Fear River from the battleship into Downtown Wilmington. It’s quite the sight to see!
For more information on the U.S.S. North Carolina you can check out their website here. The cost is $14 for adults over 12 years of age, $10 for seniors over 65 and military both active and retired $10. It’s well worth the price for everything you see!