The Naval History of North Carolina

By Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division

The “Tar Heel State” of North Carolina shares an important part in the history of the U.S. Navy.

At least 40 ships have been named after cities, places, and people in North Carolina. Four ships have been named after the state itself, the most recent being USS North Carolina (SSN 777), a Virginia-class submarine that was commissioned in Wilmington, N.C., in 2008. Other notable ships named after places in the state include USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63), an aircraft carrier named for Kitty Hawk, N.C., the town near the site where Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful sustained powered flights in a heavier-than-air machine.

Did you know that two secretaries of the Navy were born in North Carolina? John Branch Jr., who was born in Halifax County, served as Secretary of the Navy from 1829-1831, and Josephus Daniels, who was born in Washington, N.C., served as Secretary of the Navy from 1913-1921. Daniels made a number of naval reforms during his tenure, including the introduction of women into the service.

If you have ever wondered what it’s like to be on a U.S. naval ship, take a trip to the USS North Carolina (BB 55) museum ship in Wilmington, N.C. The battleship served during World War II and received numerous battle stars for her service before she was decommissioned in 1947.

Check out our infographic for more information on the Sailors, ships, and places in North Carolina with ties to naval history and heritage!

 

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