The Big Guns

USS North Carolina, Wilmington

The big guns of the U.S.S. North Carolina battleship whooped serious Imperial Ass during World War II, earning herself 15 battle stars and the distinction as the most decorated battleship of the war. The USSNC participated in every major offensive in the Pacific, and still somehow managed to lose just 10 crewmen in action, even after taking a direct torpedo hit by a Japanese submarine. “Showboat” was the battleship’s official nickname, but “Bad Ass Mo Fo” seems far more appropriate.

USS North Carolina, WilmingtonDisplaying her uncanny ability to evade destruction, the North Carolina only narrowly escaped the scrapheap in 1958 due to public outcry and a grassroots campaign to bring the battleship back to its namesake as a World War II memorial. For the last 48 years, Showboat has berthed in Wilmington, NC, were it stands as a tribute to the 10,000 North Carolinians, and 400,000 Americans, who died during the war.

One of the most striking things about the battleship is its shear size. The giant guns on its deck are to be expected, but the rest of the ship is massive as well. A “quick” tour of its open sections takes a full two hours. One of the first things you notice when stepping inside is the ship’s large open spaces, USS North Carolina, Wilmingtonnot seen on any of the other navy vessels we’ve had the opportunity to visit. These spaces were likely needed to accommodate the 2,300 men who worked and lived aboard. Not just a floating fortress, the North Carolina was also a floating city. And like any city, Showboat had its share of luxuries and conveniences; everything from a dedicated mail room and barber shop to a theater and soda fountain.

War is terrible, but if you have to fight, make sure you get a spot on a kick-ass ship like the U.S.S. North Carolina.

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  1. Mo-money-bile, Alabama | Everywhere Once - October 25, 2011

    […] think we would have enjoyed the battleship Alabama more if we hadn’t already visited the USS North Carolina. The Carolina is somewhat bigger, more decorated, and in better physical shape, than the Alabama, […]


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