By Four Walls
May 3, 2021 8:45am CST
While I was in the relative neighborhood (let’s face it, 160 miles is a lot closer than 800 miles! ), I took a trip to Wilmington, North Carolina to visit the USS North Carolina. My reasons were personal: my uncle served on the North Carolina. Uncle Joe (an uncle by marriage) was an Italian immigrant who had no problem in joining the US Navy to fight. The North Carolina was his duty station. As a battleship, it was sent to the Pacific fleet to help bolster the crippled fleet in the wake of Pearl Harbor. On September 15, 1942, the North Carolina was torpedoed by an enemy submarine. The torpedo hit exactly where my uncle had been standing five minutes earlier. You see, as one of the displays on the North Carolina explains, getting in the shower or at a hand bowl for a quick clean-up was a WAIT. Uncle Joe, on that day, didn’t have the patience to wait, so he went to the other head on the opposite side of the ship. It saved his life. It’s easy to think about these things as “museums,” but they were real ships in real battles with real people aboard. Uncle Joe lived to be a ripe old age. My aunt has what she calls her “Joe shrine” in one of the rooms in her home, dedicated to her late husband and his heroics in World War II. Thanks for your service, Uncle Joe. Fair winds and following seas, Sailor. PHOTO COLLAGE: 1. An explanation of X, Y, and Z doors and the story of the September 15, 1942 torpedo attack. 2. A crewman’s memories of the wait for the bathroom, which explains how God saved my uncle’s life. 3. The bell and guns of the USS North Carolina.
12 people like this
• St. Catharines, Ontario
THE WINDS OF FATE One ship drives east and another drives west With the self-same winds that blow; 'Tis the set of the sails And not the gales That tells them the way to go. Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate As we voyage along through l