North Carolina file photo [1626]

North Carolina

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassNorth Carolina-class Battleship
BuilderNew York Navy Yard
Laid Down27 Oct 1937
Launched13 Jun 1940
Commissioned9 Apr 1941
Decommissioned27 Jun 1947
Displacement35,000 tons standard
Length729 feet
Beam108 feet
Draft35 feet
MachineryGeneral Electric geared turbines with four screws
Power Output115,000 shaft horsepower
Speed27 knots


ww2dbaseLaunched in Jun 1940, the USS North Carolina was the first battleship of her class. She was sponsored by Isabel Hoey, daughter of Governor Clyde Hoey of North Carolina. As the first of the Navy's modern battleship program, she received a great deal of attention from the press and earned the nickname "Showboat". She was the first new battleship for the US Navy for nearly 20 years.

ww2dbaseDuring WW2, North Carolina provided naval gun support for the Marine landings as well as escorted carriers during the Solomons campaign. During the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, North Carolina shot down between 7 and 14 Japanese aircraft during the 8-minute battle. On 15 Sep, she suffered damage from a torpedo attack either launched by Japanese submarine I-19 or I-15; records were not clear whether the torpedo was a stray from the same salvo from I-19 that sank the carrier Wasp or from I-15 that was also present in the area. The explosion struck 20 feet below the surface and killed five men. The result was a hole 32 feet long by 18 feet high that flooded the number one turret handling room. However, her skilled damage control team minimized the damage; the team even corrected the resulting 5.5 degree list within minutes by counterflooding. Very soon after the torpedo strike she was sailing at a speed of 25 knots for Pearl Harbor for repairs. She returned to Pearl Harbor once again in spring 1943 for fire control and radar upgrades. Subsequent to the upgrades, she supported numerous landings during the island hopping campaign across the Pacific, performing both carrier screening as well as bombarding Japanese positions. She received 15 battle stars for World War II service.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, she saw service in Japan and the Atlantic before being inactivated in 1946. She was decommissioned in 1947 and joined the mothball fleet until 1960. She was dedicated as a memorial at Wilmington, North Carolina, United States on 29 Apr 1962.

ww2dbaseSources: Naval Historical Center, the Struggle for Guadalcanal, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Mar 2006

Battleship North Carolina Interactive Map


View of North CarolinaBattleship North Carolina at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, early Jun 1940Christening of North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 13 Jun 1940; note Isabel Young Hoey breaking champagne bottleLaunching ceremony of North Carolina, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York, United States, 13 Jun 1940, photo 1 of 4
See all 130 photographs of Battleship North Carolina

North Carolina Operational Timeline

6 Nov 1915 Piloted by Lieutenant Commander Henry Mustin, a Curtiss AB-2 aircraft made the first US catapult launch from USS North Carolina whilst the vessel was underway.
27 Oct 1937 The keel of US battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55) was laid down at New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York, United States.
13 Jun 1940 The battleship USS North Carolina was launched at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York, United States.
9 Apr 1941 North Carolina was commissioned into service.
15 Sep 1942 Japanese submarine I-19 sank USS Wasp (3 Type 95 torpedo hits; 194 were killed, 1,969 survived) in the Coral Sea at 1444 hours; USS North Carolina and USS O'Brien were also damaged in the attack.
16 Dec 1942 Battleships USS Washington, USS North Carolina, and USS Indiana escorted by destroyers USS Nicholas, USS Farragut, and USS Clarke departed Nouméa, New Caledonia on a patrol cruise around the Coral Sea.
23 Dec 1942 Battleships USS Washington, USS North Carolina, and USS Indiana escorted by destroyers USS Nicholas, USS Farragut, and USS Clarke, joined by USS Fanning and Maury, returned to Nouméa, New Caledonia.
1 Aug 1944 USS North Carolina arrived at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for an overhaul.
18 Dec 1944 Many ships from the United States Third Fleet, Task Force 38 sailed into Typhoon Cobra in the Philippine Sea. Three destroyers and 790 men were lost.
18 Jul 1945 American battleships USS North Carolina, USS Alabama, USS Iowa, USS Missouri, and USS Wisconsin and British battleship HMS King George V bombarded Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan with 2,000 shells; the Taga Works and Mito Works of Hitachi Manufacturing Company were moderately damaged, and the Yamate Plant and the copper refining plants of Hitachi Mine were lightly damaged; civilian housing areas were also attacked, causing many deaths. Japanese battleship Nagato was damaged in port at Yokosuka, Japan by aircraft from carrier USS Shangri-La; a Japanese destroyer, a submarine, and three smaller vessels were sunk during the attack on Yokosuka. Aircraft from USS Yorktown struck the Tokyo area. P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang aircraft of US Far East Air Forces attacked various targets on Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, focusing largely on communications lines, bridges, shipping, and population centers.
27 Jun 1947 North Carolina was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. mann says:
21 Jan 2009 02:59:01 AM

i'm looking for my granddad jack paul welch, who served as military police volunteer during ww2. he, together with 2 other white officers john and leonard, met my grandmom in mindanao.they were on a raft all the way from cagayan de oro to mambajao, camiguin island(misamis oriental).grandmom is now 83. i hope you can help me. my father was born in 1946, he is now 62 and still searching.
thank you.
2. Scott Whitaker says:
30 Sep 2014 03:11:47 AM

I just want to say thanks. I live in Newport, NC about 93 miles from the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC. I learned a lot of new information on the USS NC from this site.
3. Anonymous says:
8 Nov 2017 02:21:33 PM

MY Dad, Halbert D Boss, served on this great ship, an original member of the crew. Would love to know if anyone knew him.
4. Donald Nesta says:
5 Mar 2021 05:38:47 PM

My father James Nesta served on this ship, if anyone knew him could you v contact me. Would be grateful for any information, thanks. My phone # is 786-305- 0294.
5. Matthew Thomas Ashwell says:
19 Jun 2023 11:27:05 AM

My Grandfather Thomas Andrew Ashwell served on the U.S.S. North Carolina and I was wondering how I could find out more information regarding his time served and/or Rank or Class?

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More on North Carolina
Event(s) Participated:
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» Gilbert Islands Campaign
» Marshall Islands Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
» Typhoon Cobra
» Battle of Iwo Jima
» Okinawa Campaign
» Preparations for Invasion of Japan

Battleship North Carolina Photo Gallery
View of North Carolina
See all 130 photographs of Battleship North Carolina

Famous WW2 Quote
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945

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