Aboard the NORTH CAROLINA, a detachment of 84-86 U.S. Marines formed the 7th Division in the Gunnery Department.
“The Marine Detachment was in the Gunnery Department. The Marines stood lookout watch and in battle manned 20mm and (provided officers in two) 40mm mounts. (They also manned a 5-inch mount early in the ship’s career.) The Marines also furnished twenty-four hour orderly services to the captain and the executive officer. In port the Marines were responsible for the security of the ship. The Marines helped with provisioning the ship and taking on ammunition. All Marines were trained in ship to shore operations, so in addition to helping with the security of the ship in port, we were prepared to be a landing force when necessary. This was necessary near the end of the war when all Marines in our battle group transferred at sea to attack transports and went into Yokosuka, Japan. This preceded the signing of the peace treaty by several days. The Marine officers stood top gunnery watches, officer of the deck and junior officer of the deck watches, and regularly assisted in summary and general courts martials acting either as the prosecuting or defending officer.”
-Captain William Romm, USMC, Marine Detachment
“The Marine Detachment, as long as I was aboard from November 1943 to November 1945, was charged with the responsibility of upkeep and maintenance of the ship’s 20mm battery which grew from about 24 mounts to 48 or 60 when we came out of Bremerton in September 1944. The gunner on each mount was usually a Marine and the loaders were from the galley, bakery, and captain’s mess. This latter group, the captain’s stewards, never forgot me when we got into port – especially Hawaii and I always had papaya or avocado with my meal compliments of the captain’s galley just above my seat in the wardroom.”
-Captain Joseph Bruder, USMC
Marine Detachment Commanding Officer
“We had quite a group of Marines. We (the signalmen) were very friendly with them. They used to spend hours on the practice machine. It is a (5-inch) loading machine that they practiced on. They were right below the signal bridge. We used to watch them for hours practicing down there. I think one time that Tokyo Rose said that we had a new weapon, a 5-inch machine gun. That is how fast the Marine mount was firing those guns during an air raid.”
-Jackson Belford, Signalman 3/c
“We could get out some fast loads, but the Marine had two of the (5-inch) mounts. The Marine always had more rounds than we did. We didn’t have a gun crew to match the Marines. They drilled every day on the loading drill. So naturally they got it down to a fine art. They were in top shape, the Marines were. We had the best.”
-Michael Horton, Seaman 1/c
“One of my guys was in the brig during an air attack and was shaking the bars demanding the Marine to let him out. He got on the Marine’s nerves so bad that he pulled out his .45 caliber and pointed it at him and said when I let you out, you’ll get out.”
-Paul Wieser, Boatswain’s Mate 1/c
“We were sitting one night at general quarters. A bogy had been reported on the radar. We were standing easy at our guns. All of a sudden this Marine jumped up and commenced firing this 20mm gun. The sky lit up with a light out there. A plane hit the water. It was burning. I saw the gasoline burning on the water. I don’t know how he knew that this was an enemy plane or how it was there. He must have seen the exhaust. Everybody was excited and talking about it.”
-Ollie Goad, Seaman 1/c
“The Marines stood guard over the brig. One of their duties was to man the brig if we had someone locked up.”
-Wilburn Thomas, Boatswain’s Mate 1/c
“I am expecting to have a few adventures in the time to come.”
-PFC Jim Ramentol, March 1941
He served on BB55 to February 1944
Burton Clark reported aboard as a Private First Class on 4/9/1941 (plank owner) and was detached as a Platoon Sergeant on 9/23/1944.
Listen to him recall his time aboard the NORTH CAROLINA in this video oral history.