Category Archives: Holidays

Commission Day

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New Battleship – A Symbol of Might

Worldwide press

On April 9, 1941, the “world’s fightingest ship” was commissioned at 11:30 a.m., in the New York Navy Yard. The event received tremendous media attention.

Ship's Company on April 9, 1941

“The 35,000-ton battleship NORTH CAROLINA, solid, gleaming symbol of America’s awakening from a sleep naval holiday of 18 years…. 29 minutes of ceremony in dazzling sunshine formally placed in service the $70,000,000 battleship it had taken nearly four years to build.” The commissioning was four months ahead of schedule.

“As bugles blared and white-capped officers and bluejackets saluted, a pennant was run slowly up the flagstaff to show that the ship was in commission. Millions listened over the radio as the mightiest battleship afloat was put into service.”

The Young Catholic Messenger, April 25, 1941

Colors raised April 9 1941

Battleship by artist Henry Billings, April 1941

“May the NORTH CAROLINA be a symbol of progress through strength,” wrote President Roosevelt.

Commision Day Menu Navy Yard

Commission Day Graphic

Following the ceremony a buffet luncheon in the Wardroom included “NORTH CAROLINA APPLE PIE.”

Invitation to Commission

Souvenir program April 1941

April 10, 1941

“Dear Husty: It was with great pride that I sat down to my bacon and eggs this A.M. after seeing your beaming countenance griming at me from the pages of the L.A. Times. There you were aboard the new battle wagon North Carolina. I pray that your ship will never be called upon to hurl her salvos against an enemy. But, if destiny rules otherwise, I know she will more than give an excellent account of herself in upholding the glorious traditions of our Country and the Navy for which all of us who are real Americans are prepared to battle and, if needs be, die for.”

Edward Sedgwick, MGM Pictures, letter to Captain Olaf Hustvedt, commanding officer USS NORTH CAROLINA

On the cover of Newsweek April 1941

 

The New Yorker magazine April 1941

“The commissioning was a great day of excitement. All the dignitaries around and high ranking admirals. Every sailor had to be on his toes and everything was ship shape the best way it could be on board. We were all dressed in blues for photos and the commissioning. It was a great day.”

Paul Charles Wenck, Seaman 1/c

 

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Knox, Hustvedt and Broughton

“I think that the ovation that ended the celebration in New York when the ship was commissioned was a tribute to a bunch of hard working people that our shipyards were. Our sailors and men were ready to go out and do whatever had to be done to win this war. And they did it. They really did it.”

Admiral Alfred Ward, USN (Ret.)

Raising the colors April 9, 1941

Raising the colors April 9, 1941

The Ship’s Birthday over the Years

April 9 1942

 

April 1942 field day

April 1942 jamboree

1942 – Casco Bay, Maine

“The good ship U.S.S. North Carolina celebrated her first birthday anniversary in a most enjoyable manner with a big party. The day dawned bright and fair, with sufficient snap in the air to add zest to the Field Day events. The afternoon jamboree completed the day’s festivities and as the curtain fell the entire ship’s company expressed in words or actions their thanks to all. Thus was another link forged our chain of important events. When our baptismal fire is upon us, we feel certain that by such displayed unity of action our anchor of faith in our purpose will find all tried and true.”

Tarheel, April 11, 1942

1943 – Pearl Harbor

“0700 Following message was addressed to all hands – Happy Birthday NORTH CAROLINA. May we serve you as well during the coming years as you have served us during your first two years of life.”

LT(jg) Ed Gallagher, USN, in the Ship’s Deck Log

1944 – Anchored in Majuro Atoll. Mr. Howard Norton, war correspondent for The Baltimore Sun, reported aboard. In honor of the anniversary the ship’s company dined on mixed olives, sweet pickles, cream of tomato soup, croutons, roast young tom turkey, oyster dressing, baked Virginia [ham], pineapple sauce, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, candied sweet potatoes, whipped potatoes, buttered asparagus, French peas, cardinal salad, parker house rolls, bread, butter, apple pie ala mode, coffee, oranges, apples. Cigarettes, cigars.

1945 booklet

1945 – Steaming with Task Group 58.2 operating east of Okinawa

The Ship issued a booklet highlighting bombardments, air attacks and campaigns to date with a list of the commanding and executive officers. “It is our wish that all who have contributed to our cruise be honored by this anniversary publication.”

April 10 1945

Happy Holidays

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Happy Holidays from the “Good Ship” NORTH CAROLINA

Christmas Card 1944

Christmas Card 1944

Good ship NC

Medical Department wishes

December 25, 1942

December 25, 1942

Paul Wieser vmail

Paul Wieser vmail

Santa drawing 1942

Santa drawing 1942

Christmas Poem

Christmas Poem

 

 

Bombardment of Nauru

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Battleship NORTH CAROLINA shelling Nauru

Battleship NORTH CAROLINA shelling Nauru

“On December 8, 1943, we participated in what I would describe as an unusual island bombardment. The island was a small speck on the map, Nauru. It was lightly defended and contained a phosphate operation.

Six modern battleships, the Washington, North Carolina, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and Alabama let fly at 0700 with a 54 gun 16-inch salvo that smothered the island in explosions. The opening salvo was from about 30,000 yards and we continued to fire as we closed range until 0740, at which time we ceased fire and proceeded to join our carriers that were standing off some miles.

I was always puzzled by the significance of this action because of the small strategic importance of this island relative to the many other targets of opportunity that seemed to be available. My thought was that this was more of an exercise to determine how well the new and fast battleships could function together as a team. It seemed we did pretty well at the expense of the Naura islanders.”
Unidentified

"General Area Map - Nauru Island." 16-1/2 x 16 inches. Part 2. Prepared by Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas - 3 Sept. 1943.

“General Area Map – Nauru Island.” 16-1/2 x 16 inches. Part 2. Prepared by Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas – 3 Sept. 1943.

“Japanese forces were known to have fortified Nauru and to have used it as an air base for both offensive strikes and scouting missions. The two landing strips on the island had been bombed by friendly Task Forces during recent weeks….

Information of locations and descriptions of enemy gun positions, target areas, beach defenses, utilities, landing fields, revetment areas, radio stations, and radar positions were given in secret dispatches, charts and information bulletins. Heavy ships were supplied relief maps of the area. The wealth of information on enemy positions proved extremely valuable and made possible effective bombardment.”
Action Report, December 17, 1943

Ships bombarding Nauru

Ships bombarding Nauru

Ships bombarding Nauru

Ships bombarding Nauru

“You can convey a message to whoever is shooting now is way short. There is a Betty flying around here someplace. I see him every once in a while. The last three cans are firing. There seems to be a formation on the other side of the island of about 40 planes. The dive bombers are attacking now.”
Spotting Plane Log, 1935 to 1945 Greenwich Civil Time (GCT)

“History in the Making” Illustration from The Morning Press News, 12/9/1943

“History in the Making” Illustration from The Morning Press News, 12/9/1943

“We bombarded the island of Nauru – this being the first American battleship to bomb a Japanese held territory. Breakfast was at four in the morning, which was our battle breakfast of steak and eggs. Our long march to Tokyo Bay had begun.”
Fred Velletri, Coxswain