Important Dates for TEXAS
"Come on, Texas!"
USS TEXAS (BB-35)
USS Texas (BB-35), the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the US state of Texas, is a New York-class battleship. The ship was launched on 18 May 1912 and commissioned on 12 March 1914.
Soon after her commissioning, Texas saw action in Mexican waters following the "Tampico Incident" and made numerous sorties into the North Sea during World War I.
When the United States formally entered World War II in 1941, Texas escorted war convoys across the Atlantic, and later shelled Axis-held beaches for the North African campaign and the Normandy Landings before being transferred to the Pacific Theater late in 1944 to provide naval gunfire support during the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Texas was decommissioned in 1948, having earned a total of five battle stars for service in World War II, and is now a museum ship near Houston, Texas.
Among the world's remaining battleships, Texas is notable for being the only remaining World War I-era dreadnought battleship, though she is not the oldest surviving battleship, as Mikasa, a pre-dreadnought battleship ordered in 1898, by the Imperial Japanese Navy, is older. Nor is she the oldest steel ship still in existence as HMS Warrior, the world's first all-steel warship has been restored and is available for viewing.
In addition, Constitution, Constellation and HMS Victory, launched in 1765, Nelson's flagship at The Battle of Trafalgar, are all wooden warships older than Texas. Texas is also noteworthy for being one of only seven remaining ships, and the only remaining capital ship, to have served in both World Wars.
Among US-built battleships, Texas is notable for her sizable number of firsts: the first US Navy vessel to house a permanently assigned contingent of US Marines, the first US battleship to mount anti-aircraft guns, the first US ship to control gunfire with directors and range-keepers (analog forerunners of today's computers), the first US battleship to launch an aircraft, from a platform on Turret 2, one of the first to receive the CXAM-1 version of CXAM production radar in the US Navy, the first US battleship to become a permanent museum ship, and the first battleship declared to be a US National Historic Landmark.
Current plans have been set to build a dry berth around the ship to help prevent further deterioration on the historic ship.
A recent update published by the Battleship Texas Foundation on July 27th, 2020.
It has been a hot minute since our last update, and in the meantime, there has been a lot happening around and on the ship.
We were notified by TPWD last Thursday that the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) approved the restoration plan for the ship and that on August 1, 2020, the operations of the Battleship Texas would be under the direction of the BTF. August 1st will start a chapter in the history of the ship -one of a public/private partnership to ensure will ensure the future of the grand lady is bright and that she thrives for the next 106 years.
Speaking of this big blue battleship’s future, today, we take a very big step in getting her to the shipyard. Valkor (project management and engineering team) and Resolve Marine are mobilizing today to begin the tow prep for the ship. No, this doesn’t mean we are going to tow her away tomorrow. It will take about 90 days for the major preparations to be made and a few weeks before towing final tow prep will happen. No, we don’t have a date for the tow -we’ll definitely keep you updated on that.
We know that y’all are curious about how we are going to move the battleship. Well, simply put, we are going to fill the blister tanks (the tanks that are on the outside of the ship and have been a constant source of flooding) and some select interior tanks with closed-cell foam. Now as simple as that sounds, it is not very simple or quick. Prior to each tank being foamed, it has to have as much water pumped out of it as possible (to maximize the volume of foam and minimize the water volume), the tanks will have plastic sheeting draped over any standing water and on any areas we don’t want the foam to stick), and finally the foam is sprayed in. All while at the bottom of a 45’ ladder and in a tank that may or not is heavily deteriorated and in 100 plus degree heat and humidity. There is a bit more than that goes into it, you get the idea.
Okay, so you ask why foam? Well, the foam has been used widely in the maritime world because it has the advantages of being buoyant, displacing volume, will give some structural strength back to the tanks, and is removable and less damaging to the ship. We will be removing the foam in the shipyard and have done several tests to ensure that it can be removed (high-pressure water removes it very well). Speaking of testing, we did several tests to ensure that the foam would not cause more holes or stress on the ship or just generally make things worse. Most of these were small scale tests that culminated in about 9’ of foam being installed in a blister tank about a month ago. After observation, we are very pleased with how that foam trial turned out. Now, you might ask how much foam? We plan to install upwards of 900,000 gallons of expanded foam in as many as 47 tanks. It is not a million cans of Great Stuff, but rather a more industrial foam that is delivered as two separate liquids that are mixed when it is sprayed.
Now, as to the next topics, y’all want to know about: shipyard and new homeport. Do to commercial negotiations and considerations, all we can say about the shipyard is that we have a Letter of Intent (LOI) with a shipyard. The BTF/Valkor team (particularly Valkor) has done a tremendous amount of work to get us to this point. Once the contract has been signed, we will let you all know who and where the shipyard is. Now, on the new homeport, we can say that we will begin interviewing interested parties on August 6th to hear their proposals. This is just the initial round, and we plan to have conversations with other interested parties. Again, until the finalist locations are narrowed down, we are not going to comment on where these potential locations are.
We want to apologize for the slowness of updates – we try to give them when there is information to report. Just like the rain in Texas, there are periods of no rain and then it pours. So, all we can say is holdfast. We are going to keep you updated as often as we can with solid information. In the meantime, if you have questions, please post them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them.
-The Battleship Texas Team