Tour reveals shipboard life

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During World War II, the USS North Carolina Battleship earned 15 battle stars for its feats in many Pacific naval offenses. During its prime, the battleship reached speeds up to 28 knots.

Event goers were able to learn about this history during “Battleship 101,” a self-guided tour on Saturday, June 14. Ship volunteers stationed around the battleship from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. educated visitors about daily shipboard life.

“It’s impressive,” Gaston county resident David Hoesly said as he stared at the turrets. “[The battleship] reminds people of the human cost of war.”

Below deck at the mess, volunteer Mike Hosick was putting together War World II photos of the battleship to show to guests.

“We have over 100 registered volunteers,” Hosick said. “They all help in keeping [the ship’s]appearance up.”

The USS North Carolina held 2,195 enlisted men, 144 officers and 100 marines.

“Two thousand people on average, three times a day,” Hosick said about the food prepared by up to 80 crewmembers at any given event. “The job never ended.”

Many of the sightseers were tourists, like Ohio couple Chad and Heather Dowler, who were traveling home from a Surfside Beach vacation.

“It was a pit stop before we go home,” Heather Dowler said.

Visitors, before boarding the battleship, walked through the auditorium, where an assortment of weapons, World War II garments and other items were displayed.

Volunteer Niels Hansen, an active duty reservist at Fort Bragg, demonstrated a brief history of some of the weapons that many of the seamen might have carried.

“It’s a hobby of mine,” Hansen said. “I’ve always loved the Navy, the spirit of the Navy. I visited the battleship many times as a kid.”

Weapons included handguns, like the magnum, and machetes.

After the tour, attendees visited the gift shop to purchase T-shirts and postcards.

For more information about the battleship, visit
www.battleshipnc.com

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