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Day Trip - USS North Carolina (Wilmington)--March 17, 2016

Our intrepid Daytrippers celebrated St. Patrick's Day by taking a trip to Wilmington, Eastern North Carolina's largest city. We began with lunch at the Pilot House, a waterfront restaurant with wonderful views of the Cape Fear River and downtown Wilmington.

After lunch, we made the short drive across the river to the USS North Carolina, a World War II "fast battleship" that was moved to Wilmington in 1961 after being decommissioned. She was built early in the war and was mothballed just after war's end, so she had a short service, but she was active throughout the Pacific theater. Her primary missions were anti-aircraft protection for aircraft carriers and shore bombardment.

The self-guided tour took us from the main deck (those 16-inch guns are huge) to below decks (including dentist's office, chapel, heads, various "quarters" (including bunks just about everywhere), galleys of all sorts, and the very impressive munitions systems) to the upper decks, which include the captain's quarters and the bridge. About 2,000 men served aboard, for months at a time. We came away impressed with the enormous effort and dedication it took to operate the ship, fulfill its missions, and even--in one instance--to keep her afloat after being hit.

She is a great reminder of the sacrifices of the "greatest generation."

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