Southern Belle's History

History from a southern belle.

The USS North Carolina is Still Alive

As I pulled into the city of Wilmington, North Carolina, I peered through the spots of rain on my windshield and saw The USS North Carolina and it  beckoned me to take a closer look and I nearly wrecked as I stared down the massive guns aboard.  I pulled in the parking lot and stepped outside to breathe the wet air of Wilmington.  Before me stood what I can only describe as a imperial mastodon; cloaked in steel and stamina.

I met the night watchman, looking more frail than his photographs may have eluded; but none the less Mr. Danny Bradshaw knew his way around this American mistress.  As I followed him throughout the ship, he turned the lights off for the night, and the ship began to feel as cold as its bowels. We walked along never ending hallways, narrow stairs, and dark passages; this ship began to speak to me.

At night the sounds aboard the bowels were as if it was still alive.  Literally the sounds of doors shutting would echo down the corridors when no one was aboard to shut them. Cracks and pops were heard and I had terrible feelings of dread near sick bay.

It told the stories of those aboard. How they lived their daily lives and you cannot forget that this beast was at war. The photos on the walls told of wounded soldiers stacked threehigh in sick bay and of the cereal they ate, three meals a day to discourage faking ill. It told of the late night card games and ice cream by the mail room… and it told a darker tale.

Deep below in the chasm of the ship was a wound. A deep penetrating wound of a torpedo that hit September 15, 1942, killing six of her men and damaging her strong ego. Understand that the North Carolina, built in New York Harbor in 1939, it seemed impermeable to the enemy.  In one battle along along side a sister ship the Enterprise earlier that same year, the North Carolina’s volume of anti aircraft weapons led the Enterprise to inquire if they were on fire. It appeared that nothing could touch it yet its vain psyche could not prevent its damage. Alas, this ship did not go down. She continued to fight and conquer until decommissioned in June of 1947 and turned into a museum for all to enjoy, mourn the deaths of its men and women, and pay honor and respect to the veterans who called it their home.

The deck

Courtesy Alabama Paranormal Research Team

Courtesy Alabama Paranormal Research Team

itself was just as impressive as the bowels (and the air fresher).  The beautiful city lights of Wilmington behind, the impressive guns shadowed over my head and lined the port and starboard side every few feet.  The fascination of its power was mesmerizing and affecting.  To see it laid to rest as a memorial almost seemed a shame. 

I looked down at the alligator who swam below and thought this ship’s shadow should be bearing down upon the enemy and not on the historical town of Wilmington. My conclusion was it earned its resting place. Safe from the gripping hands of war and still alive for all to see.

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May 15, 2009 - Posted by | History | , , , , , , ,

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