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Some concerned over using USS North Carolina as ghost ship

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A local military vet is wary of plans to use the Battleship USS North Carolina for a Halloween celebration, but organizers say the event won’t tarnish the military memorial.

For a couple of weekends later this month the Battleship becomes the “Ghost Ship.” One Navy vet is concerned bringing ghosts and goblins aboard goes against the true spirit of the sailors who served during World War II.

Larry Williams is third generation military. He served in the US Navy until 1985 and proudly remembers the day the Battleship first found it’s home in the Cape Fear River. “To us, it was brought in especially as a memorial to the men that served on board that ship during World War II,” he said.

Williams supports many of the events that take place at the battleship, but he’s worried a Halloween celebration just isn’t in the right spirit of the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial. “This Halloween thing kind of takes away from respect to those who served and died aboard that vessel,” Williams said.

Battleship Executive Director Captain Terry Brag says organizers of the Ghost Ship are sensitive to the ship’s standing as a memorial and took that into account when planning the event. “Nothing that has to do with military, the former crew, the military legacy of the ship.”

But the battleship North Carolina is completely self-sufficient. It gets no state or federal funding. That means the staff has to come up with creative ways to increase attendance to keep the memorial alive.

“If we just maintain the status quo, then we were not going to be generating the revenue to keep this fine beautiful memorial in good shape,” Captain Brag said.

He added, if people visit the Battleship for special events, they’ll want to learn more about its history and the memorial. “If I can get them here, they have a great time, and they always come back.”

Other veterans groups we spoke with didn’t seem excited about the Ghost Ship, but say they understand the need to think outside the box to raise money, and keeping the memorial alive is everyone’s top priority.

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A local military vet is wary of plans to use the battleship USS North Carolina for a Halloween celebration, but organizers say the event won’t tarnish the military memorial.

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