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Battleship North Carolina License Plate After months of design, redesign and negotiations with DMV, the Battleship North Carolina is now accepting applications for the North Carolina First in Flight Specialized Battleship North Carolina License Plate.

The cost of the plate is an annual $30 for a regular plate or $60 for a personalized plate, plus the regular annual fee. For each plate purchased, the Battleship receives $20, which will provide much-needed revenue for the ship.

This is another excellent opportunity for Friends members to show their support for the ship.

In order to apply for a Battleship tag, download the application, fill it out entirely, and remit it with a $30/$60 check or money order payable to Battleship North Carolina and mail it to:

The Ship needs a minimum of 300 applications from North Carolina residents, who currently have a vehicle registered with the NC DMV, before the plate will be produced. Once the Battleship has received the proper number of applications, they will be sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles for manufacturing to begin.

August 2013

Battleship North Carolina P.O. Box 480 Wilmington, NC 28402 The application is available at

Vol. 3

Battlestars of the Battleship North Carolina By Daryl Millard

North Carolina’s 11th battlestar, Leyte Operations, was earned while participating in a supporting role for the attack on Luzon. This was the effort, by the forces under command of General MacArthur, to retake the Philippines. The Japanese introduced a new weapon during this campaign. The “kamikaze”, meaning “divine wind”, proved to be more difficult to defend against and at times was very effective. On 25NOV44 Japanese kamikazes crashed into four American aircraft carriers: Essex, Intrepid, Hancock, and Cabot. While these attacks were unsuccessful in sinking any of the attacked ships that day, developing tactics to more effectively combat the new threat would become a new priority. 18DEC44 – Task Force 38 sailed through the heart of a typhoon. Weather data had been insufficient to allow the task force to avoid the storm. There was no battlestar issued for those who were aboard ships caught in the path of this storm but, it bears recognition here for the over 800 lives lost on three destroyers, Hull, Monaghan, and Spence. North Carolina did not lose a single crew member (see photo on page 4). The book “Battleship North Carolina”, by Captain Ben W. Blee, USN (Ret.), is a great reference for anyone interested in researching this further. In January of 1945 Admiral Halsey made a daring move into the South China Sea in an effort to support ongoing operations on Luzon. This 12th battlestar, Luzon Operations, resulted in the sinking of one cruiser, 12 oil tankers, 44 merchant and smaller naval vessels, and resulted in the loss of over 100 enemy aircraft. On 21JAN45 the task force came under attack once again by kamikazes. What follows is an excerpt from an after

action report filed by the officers of North Carolina. 11:58 – CIC detects bogie in returning friendly group at 18 miles. Gatling (DD 671) came alongside to starboard for fuel. 12:02 – Cotten (DD-669) came alongside to port. 12:03 – Jack patrols under fighter direction by this ship were alerted when the bogie reached 9 miles. 12:09 – Langley (CVL-27) was hit with a bomb from a Japanese dive bomber. 12:10 – Ticonderoga (CV-14) was struck by a Japanese suicide plane and was seen to be burning fiercely. Air defense was sounded. 12:10 – Cast off Gatling and Cotten. 12:26–12:44 – CIC tracked a bogie amid friendlies. 12:47 – This bogie, identified as a “Myrt”, dove out of the clouds on the port bow and was immediately taken under fire by this ship. As the bogie crossed from port to starboard, other ships in this van opened fire. 12:49 – The plane crashed in flames. 12:53 – Ticonderoga received a second hit in the superstructure by a Japanese suicide plane which burst into huge flames. 14:53 – Secured from general quarters, but continued to have air defense stations fully manned. 18:28 – Sunset 22:03 – Condition III was set. Temperature was 71 F, winds easterly at 15 knots, the sea was moderate, the sky was partly cloudy (0.7 cumulus and cirrostratus). The assault on Iwo Jima, all agreed, would be a costly undertaking. Earning of the 13th battlestar for North Carolina began on 16FEB45 as it supported surprise air

USS Essex hit on November 25, 1944 during kamikaze attack August 2013

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attacks by Task Force 58 on the Tokyo area. These strikes were an effort to reduce the enemy’s ability to support their defense of Iwo Jima. The strikes resulted in the loss of over 500 enemy aircraft compared to only 88 American planes. With a total of over 1000 enemy planes originally in the area, the Japanese did not manage to develop an attack against the task force. 18Feb45 – During task force air strikes on Chichi Jima, North Carolina refueled Hazelwood (DD-531), Heerman (DD-532), Cotten (DD-669), Healy (DD-672), and Haggard (DD-555) from 12:05-16:37. 19:16 – Resumed Condition III. 20:40 – North Carolina, along with Washington (BB56), Biloxi (CL-80), Santa Fe (CL-60), and Indianapolis (CA-35), proceeded to report to CTF 51 for duty in connection with the bombardment of Iwo Jima. North Carolina got to work almost immediately upon arrival in the Iwo Jima area. Some 6-inch coastal defense guns had put six hits on the heavy cruiser Pensacola the day before, killing 17 and wounding 119. North Carolina silenced this threat with her main batteries at 11,500 yards with eight armor-piercing and 14 high capacity rounds. The fleet moved in. North Carolina was on the firing line for four days, communicating with spotting planes who flew in and identified targets and then radioed for fire support from the ship. Part of those communications are included here as they appeared in after action reports. 12:50 – Spotter 142 – Fire two salvos. Will have it right on. 12:51 – Salvo 143 main. – Spotter 142 — We are hitting 5 yards away. 12:52 – Salvo 144 main. – Spotter 142 — Destroyed a cave. No more gunfire. I will go down to inspect. – BB-55 — We are ready to resume firing as soon as you resume angles of safety. – Salvo 145 main. 12:53 – Spotter 142 — D 200. 12:55 – Salvo 146 main. – Spotter 142 — Right where I intended. Fire two salvos. I will look for another target. – Salvo 147 main, salvo 148 main. Plane 152 relieves 142. 13:40 – BB-55 — Investigate area 202 Oboo. – Spotter 152 — Area seems quiet. There are some troops there. – BB-55 — What is the approximate area? – Spotter 152 — Area 202. I am fixing it for you now in area 202xy. You see the twin forks in the road? That is the area of the shed around which I have observed the activity of enemy troops. 13:41 – BB-55 — We will take under fire the areas 202xy. You keep a lookout for mortar fire in that area. August 2013

Our line of fire is 286. We will give you salvo and splash. Stand by to observe fire at 202y. – Spotter 152 — I believe I have spotted mortar fire. If you will stand by, I will go closer and take a look. – BB-55 — We have received orders to 201. Proceed with your investigations and expedite. – Spotter 152 — I have observed mortar fire at 201 King and Love. – BB-55 — Prepare for firing at 201 Oboo first. Are you clear? – Spotter 152 — Clear. 13:42 – Salvo 158 main. – Spotter 152 — D 200. 13:43 – Salvo 159 main. – Spotter 152 — L 400. 13:44 – Salvo 160 main. – Spotter 152 — L 50. 13:45 – Salvo 161 main. – Beautiful. Give me one more salvo please. Stand by, I’m going down. – BB-55 — We have checked fire. 13:46 – Spotter 152 — You have covered 201 Oboo with your last two salvos. That area is all burned out. On D-Day plus three, the final day of bombardment, one shore fire control party, in desperate need of fire support, called for fire support without spotting aircraft. The ship had not been able to contact the spotting aircraft and weather had been so bad that only radar

Iwo Jima under a veil of air attack smoke sighting could be used. Although support had been given effectively, it was observed that some of the projectiles were bursting in air, contrary to what the gunners were instructed to do. After much double-checking and careful feedback, it was generally decided that the heavy rain may have played a role in the early functioning of some of the Mk. 29 fuzes.

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The fighting on Iwo Jima had cost the Japanese almost 21,000 dead and nearly 1100 wounded and captured. The American losses of more than 7500 men killed in action and almost 20,000 wounded was to become a consideration in a decision that would ultimately end the war. Next issue we move on to Okinawa and the Japanese home islands as we reach the end of the war in the Pacific.

December 1944, the North Carolina at sea in the typhoon

Aerial view of Iwo Jima

Sponge rubber topographical relief map of the island of Iwo Jima: Scale: 1:12,500. It was a training aid developed by the US Naval Photographic Intelligence Center to familiarize pilots and shipboard bombardment personnel with the area before and during the Iwo Jima campaign. East Carolina University graduate students restored the map with funding provided by the Friends of the Battleship.

August 2013

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F inal Toast T he Cup Of Brandy That No One Wants To Drink Written by Friends Member Ted Gragg Recently, from April 17-20, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, the surviving Doolittle Raiders gathered publicly for the 71st and last time. They once were among the most revered men in the United States. There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation’s history. The mere mention of their unit’s name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans. Now only four survive. After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around. Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried – sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier. The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier. They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing. But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety. And those men went anyway. They bombed Tokyo, and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed. Another died of starvation in a Japanese August 2013

prison camp. One crew made it to Russia. The Doolittle Raid sent a message from the United States to its enemies, and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter what it takes, we will win. Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. MetroGoldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based on the raid; “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo”, starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional box-office hit, and the phrase became part of the national lexicon. In the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM proclaimed that it was presenting the story “with supreme pride”. Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson, Arizona, as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider. Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness. Also in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac. The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born. There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders, they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast their comrades who preceded them in death. As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February, Tom Griffin passed away at age 96. What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria, and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more combat

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missions. He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp. The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts ... there was a passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface, had nothing to do with the war, but that emblematizes the depth of his sense of duty and devotion: “When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home, he visited her every day. He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes. At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning. He did that for three years until her death in 2005.” So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick Cole (Doolittle’s co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s. They have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue. The events in Fort Walton Beach this week will mark the end. It has come full circle; Florida’s nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission. The town is planning to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their valor, including luncheons, a dinner and a parade. Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom they helped save the country have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice? They don’t talk about that, at least not around other people. But if you find yourself near Fort Walton Beach this week, and if you should encounter any of the Raiders, you might want to offer them a word of thanks. I can tell you from firsthand observation that they appreciate hearing that they are remembered. The men have decided that after this final public reunion they will wait until a later date – some time this year – to get together once more, informally and in absolute privacy. That is when they will open the bottle of brandy. The years are flowing by too swiftly now; they are not going to wait until there are only two of them. They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets. And raise them in a toast to those who are gone. PLEASE SEND THIS ON, ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WHO WERE TOO YOUNG TO KNOW ABOUT THESE GUYS. THIS SHOULD BE READ BY EVERY KID IN GRADE AND HIGH SCHOOL SO THEY KNOW OUR HISTORY.

August 2013

Did You Know? • Each time one barrel of the 16” guns was fired, it required 450 pounds of powder bags. • On the 19th of February 1945, at Iwo Jima, the North Carolina fired 544 16” rounds in shore bombarment by lunchtime.   • That morning’s bombardment included 53 rounds at a command post, machine gun concentration point, and an anti-tank gun that were destroyed.   • 18 more rounds that morning blew the top off of an enemy pillbox.   • Bombardment did not always go as planned. One sailor, in turret one, caught his pant leg in the ramming operating lever during loading. While trying to free his pant leg with the help of other crew members, the operating lever was accidentally engaged while another round was coming up the loading tube, forcing the second round to jam in the loading tube with the first round in the cradle. The gun was out of commission for the rest of the day because the lowering lever had been bent by the shells and had to be replaced.   • The original light anti-aircraft protection for North Carolina included only 12 Browning machine guns and four quad-mounts of 1.1 inch, with an effective range of 3/4 mile and 1 1/2 miles respectively. A total of 28 light AA guns.   • By wars end, the North Carolina had 48 Oerliken 20mm guns with an effective range of one mile and 15 quadmounted Bofors 40mm guns with an effective range of 2 1/2 miles. A total of 108 light AA guns. Almost four times the original number.   • A 35-foot long target, travelling at 300mph, needed to be fired upon at a rate of 13 rounds per second, or 780 rounds per minute, to score a hit.   • Leading your target was very important. A 40mm round travelled two miles in about eight seconds. By that time, the target would have moved over 1/2 mile. • The North Carolina lost both of her OS2U Kingfisher scout planes during the typhoon in December of 1944. They were secured on catapults at the time but destroyed by the storm.  

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F ireworks from the Fantail Mike Wortham

The evening of the 4th of July was a special event for 39 Friends families. Representing approximately 120 Friends members, they started showing up by late afternoon for a very relaxed evening of socializing, picnicking, and viewing the scheduled 9 pm Annual Battleship Blast fireworks display from the ship’s fantail. The possibility of rainy weather was a concern all day but, in the end, the sky was clear, the temperature was perfect, and there was an excellent breeze to keep the mosquitos away!! To add to the enjoyment of the evening, the ship was able to provide stereo speakers on the fantail, and we were able to listen to the musical score provided by Zambelli Fireworks just for the occasion. In years past, the fireworks were set up in Battleship Park, which put the ship in a security safety zone where the public was not allowed. This year, the fireworks were fired from a barge in the Cape Fear River, which put the ship outside the security zone and made it possible for Friends members and ship’s staff to view the fireworks from the ship. In conversation with those who attended, the event was a huge success. Needless to say, it is hoped by all that the opportunity will be offered again next year.

August 2013

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Roll Call Please join in welcoming our new and renewing Friends. Joel Aiken Tenille and Jack Alfandre Doug Anderson Dennis and Claudia Banks Larry Balan Major Lance Bevins, USMC (Ret) and Ava Evins Christian Black and Tracy Erlick Betsy Blee Mary Ames Booker Barry Borman Katherine Brantley Allison Brenning Robert Brewington Peter and Karen Brown Richard Campana Susan Mason Carter and Charles Carter H. Royster Chamblee Jr. Kathy and Andrew Clark Larry and Fran Clark William Collinson Michael Dickert David and Sandra Diemer Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. and Joy L. Dunlap Charles Emerson Doug and Margi Erickson Andres E. Flores, Jr.

Ermest Foster Jim Geisler and Carol Cisternino CDR Chuck Gore, USN (Ret.) and Sandy Vidlak-Gore Teddy and Rebecca Gragg Ed and Carol Haggett Ed Haggert Camille Hanosek Wesley Hecht Egbert M. Herring, III Stephen Hornsberger Al Hunter Thomas and Myra Jenkins Diane Johnson Clare and Fred Jordan William and Kim Jordan K. Corey Keeble Ramesh Kochurama and Puspa Parameswaran Michele Kong and Regina Ransom Lee Lewis George Lucas Samuel and Tammy Mancini Pat Marriott Karen and John M. Matthews, Jr. Mark McAllister James and Carolyn McCarthy Doug Miller Matthew and Danielle Miller

Sele Mitchell Steve and Pat Moore Thomas Nason Robert Neppel Seana O’Hare and Glenn Ozaki Shannon O’Toole Dan Owens Ronald and and Carolyn Phelps Darrin and Stephanie Pohlman Tarini Ramesh Richard Rennick Richard and Margaret Riano Ken and Pat Rittenmeyer Shawn and Molly Roberts Timothy Sanford Erin and Lou Sawyer John Schneider Vallory Smith and Ashley Wilshire Elizabeth Spaulding Melvin C. Starner Jim Sweetwood Steve Taylor Nate Vogan and Tori Bernero William and Roxanne Weldon Gary Whaley Gary and Nikki Williams Robert and Julie Wise Mike and Cindy Wortham John Wright

This list reflects New and Renewal Friends Members as of August 15, 2013. If you do not see your name and you have joined or re-joined the Friends since the last issue of Scuttlebutt, please contact Susan Mason Carter by email at

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Calendar of Events September 28 - Battleship Alive! October 12 - Hidden Battleship October 29 - Batty Battleship’s Halloween Bash (Tues.) December 7 - Battleship Alive! All events take place on Saturday unless otherwise noted. Be sure to check the Battleship website for complete details about all of these events. All articles & photos printed with permission. Copyrights may apply. August 2013

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Scuttlebutt aug 2013  

Bi-monthly publication produced by the Friends of the Battleship North Carolina.