The USS North Carolina submarine, also known as “The Tar Heel Boat” wished Roy Williams and the UNC men’s basketball team good luck in their match for the championship against Gonzaga.
Although many are familiar with the historic battleship moored in Wilmington, the USS North Carolina BB55, there’s also a Virginia-class fast-attack nuclear submarine that bears the name of the state, the USS North Carolina SSN 777. And the crew are Tar Heel fans.
In several Facebook posts, the sub’s crew showed support for the Tar Heels, including a video cheering them on to victory in the national championship game.
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“Got the Tar Heel crew together to send some positive energy and HOOYAH to the North Carolina Tar Heels heading into the final four this weekend!” the crew posted.
The sub, commissioned in 2008 in Wilmington and based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, has a crew of 130. The sub is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to carry the name “North Carolina.”
Cmdr. Matt Lewis, commanding officer of the North Carolina, also sent a letter to Roy Williams.
“We could not be more proud of you and your Tar Heels,” Lewis wrote. “As you head into this weekend, know that you have the support of every member of the Tar Heel crew of USS North Carolina.”
“Although I have not been at the helm of this exceptional group of men for very long, they have shown me the importance of hard work, strength of character and developing a team,” Lewis wrote. “This is where our teams are so much alike and my crew instantly recognized this when they met you all in Hawaii.
“Although we are almost 5,000 miles from North Carolina and 3,000 miles from Phoenix, know that you will hear us on Saturday as you have the backing of a $2.2 billion warship and its crew of 162 Tar Heels. Stay humble and hungry!”
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett