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Battleship North Carolina crew vies for spot on Dirty Jobs

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TWC News: Battleship North Carolina crew vies for spot on Dirty Jobs
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WILMINGTON – The Battleship North Carolina wants the nation to see just how challenging it is to keep the World War II vessel in ship shape.

They're hoping to appear on the TV series Dirty Jobs to showcase the work that happens down below the decks.

Once a year, workers spend two weeks maintaining the ship. Electronics technician Terry Kuhn has tackled the job for more than a decade and knows every nook and cranny of the ship. He even has to crawl inside the ship's wiring trunk, where it's impossible to stand up straight.

"These are some of the wires and power cables on the ship that were very critical and had to be highly protected," he said. "So we're inside this tight little area. We came down here to do a little rust clean-up."

While scraping up the rust kicks up dust into the air, Kuhn said it's work that must be done to keep the battleship afloat.

"If we don't keep doing this kind of stuff, eventually the ship wouldn't be able to stay in Wilmington," he said. "We'd have to scrap it and it would go away."

The crew also has to check the levels of oil and water in the store rooms to make sure the fuel tanks are still in good shape. Maintenance mechanic Gary Piatak said it's hard to avoid getting slimy while checking the giant dip sticks.

"Spin it, get our numbers," Piatak said, as he performed the task. "So we're at 30 feet there, so we're 29. So we're about 28 feet of oil and water."

Kuhn and Piatak must also remove and excess fuel oil that sprays out onto the floor of store rooms.

"It's been here long enough, a lot of it is kind of dry and caked on," said Kuhn. "I don't know what's going to touch it short of a flame thrower."

For the crew, it's a dirty job that must be done to maintain the vessel for future generations to enjoy.

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