With Ulithi now her base, North Carolina screened wide-ranging carrier strikes on Formosa, the coast of Indo-China and China, and the Ryukyus in January, and similarly supported strikes on Honshu the next month. Hundreds of enemy aircraft were destroyed which might otherwise have resisted the assault on Iwo Jima, where North Carolina bombarded and provided call fire for the assaulting Marines through 22 February.
Strikes on targets in the Japanese home islands laid the ground-work for the Okinawa assault, in which North Carolina played her dual role of bombardment and carrier screening. Here, on 6 April, she downed three kamikazes, but took a 5inch hit from a friendly ship during the melee of anti-aircraft fire. Three men were killed and 44 wounded. Next day came the last desperate sortie of the Japanese Fleet, as Yamato, the largest battleship in the world, came south with her attendants. Yamato, a cruiser, and a destroyer were sunk, three other destroyers damaged so badly that they were scuttled and the remaining four destroyers returned to the fleet base at Sasebo badly damaged. On the same day North Carolina splashed an enemy plane, and she shot down two more 17 April.
After overhaul at Pearl Harbor, North Carolina rejoined the carriers for a month of air strikes and naval bombardment on the Japanese home islands. Along with guarding the carriers, North Carolina fired on major industrial plants near Tokyo, and her scout plane pilots performed a daring rescue of a downed carrier pilot under heavy fire in Tokyo Bay.