U.S.S. North Carolina

[National Archives and Records Administration]

In January, 1942, Chuck Paty boarded a brand new battleship – the U.S.S. North Carolina – the first ship to join the U.S. fleet in more than two decades. Six months later, the battleship sailed into Pearl Harbor, slowly passing the destroyed ships from the Japanese attack – still upside down, sideways, sunken. For Paty, it was a moving experience. Less than a month later, the ship was off the coast of Guadalcanal with enemy planes headed its way. Paty – who worked in the radar compartment – describes his feelings as he awaited the impending battle, the tremendous fuselage of guns going off, and the relief of having survived their “baptism of fire.” Two weeks later, a torpedo blew a 30-foot hole in the side of the U.S.S. North Carolina and the ship limped back to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

Videos

In this excerpt from Act Six (of 20), entitled “USS North Carolina,” Charlotte, NC, veteran sailor and radioman Chuck Paty describes the battleship’s “baptism of fire” as it faced its first Japanese attack during WWII.