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Built in 1937, the battleship North Carolina (BB 55) became the first of ten fast battleships to be deployed during World War II. Commissioned on April 9, 1941, she was a formidable ship, with nine 16-inch 45 caliber guns in three turrets and twenty 5-inch 38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts. In addition to her weapons, she carried 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted.
During World War II, the North Carolina earned 15 battle stars for its service. She carried out nine shore bombardments, sank an enemy troopship, destroyed at least 24 enemy aircraft and rescued the carrier Enterprise. She survived many close calls and a Japanese torpedo that slammed into her hull on September 15, 1942, despite six Japanese radio announcements that she had been destroyed. By the end of the war, the North Carolina had lost ten men and carried 67 wounded.
After the war, the North Carolina served as a training vessel for midshipmen and then was decommissioned on June 27, 1947. She sat in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in Bayonne, New Jersey, for the next 14 years. In 1958, an announcement that she would be scrapped led to a statewide campaign by North Carolina citizens to save the ship. As a result, the North Carolina moved to a dock in North Carolina on October 2, 1961, and the state dedicated it to its memorial of World War II veterans on April 29, 1962.
From Battleship North Carolina.