Pulled out of Bruce’s at 8:30 am for the drive to Wilmington. The weather was not as nice has it has been, overcast with spotty rain. Arrived at the Wilmington KOA at 12:30 pm, got our site and set up. The campground is quite large with many sites, cabins, and deluxe cabins.
It has started raining very steady now that we are getting ready to visit the USS North Carolina Battleship BB55, but that will not stop us. The battleship is very impressive as you drive into the parking lot, it is painted with the war time colors. The rain was not letting up but that was not going to stop us from touring the ship. We could not spend much time on the main deck because of the rain, but below decks were open so down the hatch we went. Toured the mess hall, engine room, officer country, and sick bay, lots of up and down ladders but everyone made it. It was very interesting to see how the sailors live aboard a battleship.
As I boarded the battleship I could visualize the 2000 crew members at work on a normal day of standing watch and maintaining the ship. Deckhands would be holy stoning the teak decks, the gunner mates preparing the 16” guns, 20 mm, 40 mm guns for action. The air crew preparing the Kingfisher scout plane for its next mission. What a sight it was to see all the activity going on around the ship to keep it in readiness for battle. If at sea, this would still be happen, until the clanging of general quarters was sounded over the PA system thru out the ship and all 2000 sailors and marines would be running to man their battle stations. The battle action could be a shore bombardment or a battle at sea with the Japanese Fleet. Battle actions could last as long as 3 days or 3 hours, when you went to your battle station you didn’t know how long you would be there. Sea battles would have been the worse, because you could lose your home in the middle of the sea. Just an example of what some of the crew would be doing, here is just an idea of the armament that the ship had and need to be manned during battle stations.
There were 3 turrets with 3 16” guns that needed to be manned, 10 turrets with 2 5” guns, 60 40 mm guns and 53 20 mm guns. The 40 mm and 20 mm guns were not in turrets, the men manning them were standing on the open deck firing the guns. As you see just manning the guns took several people and that does not count the sailors that had to supply the guns with shells. There still were sailors below decks operating the propulsion system, navigating the ship, and sick bay which would take care of any injured personnel. This did bring fond memories back to me from my days in the US Navy.
The sign was on a telephone pole along the street, read the sign.
Drove back to the campground in a driving rain storm, must be part of that tropical storm that was in the gulf a few days ago. Everyone is tired from the tour of the battleship so we are calling it a night.
We may change our plans of going up the east coast because they are predicting more rain the further north we go. May head inland, will decide tomorrow