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ONLY 8 PRESERVED US BATTLESHIPS SURVIVE

#1 peejay

peejay

    Super Star Member



Posted 27 November 2010 - 05:59 PM

Last shot at preserving Battleship Texas under way
By MICHAEL GRACZYK
2010 The Associated Press
Nov. 27, 2010, 12:49PM


LA PORTE — Retirement hasn't been kind to the Battleship Texas, the only remaining U.S. battleship to survive World Wars I and II.

Once touted as the most powerful weapon on the planet, the nearly century-old battlewagon has endured some 60 years as an historic relic moored in the brackish Houston Ship Channel, corrosion from water outside and inside munching at its steel and patchwork repairs.

"Our boat's been sitting in the water and rusting away, so we get it out of the water," says Andy Smith, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's manager of the battleship site east of Houston.

That's the goal as work finally is beginning to permanently remove the Texas from water by constructing a unique dry berth for the 573-foot-long, 34,000-ton vessel. It's the most complex project ever for the parks agency and isn't likely to be complete until late this decade.

Texas voters three years ago approved a bond package that included $25 million to save the ship moored since 1948 at the equally historic San Jacinto Battleground.

The project also is being designed to not repeat the cycle of past repairs that cost millions of dollars but failed to ensure the long-term future of the ship launched in 1912.

"It's not going to be done again to this vessel," Neil Thomas, project manager for the agency's infrastructure division, says of the overhaul. "We've got one shot, and we've got to do it right."

The department signed a contract Oct. 26 with AECOM, a worldwide architectural and engineering firm, to design a dry berth for the Texas. Teams involved in the project met aboard the ship for the first time earlier this month.

Some topographic surveys and soil tests are under way and a preliminary design from the firm is expected by next spring. Public comment, compliance with environmental assessments and government agencies and regulations could take another two years. Construction bidding is expected by mid-2014 with project completion anticipated by summer of 2017.

Smith said a couple of vessels in England have been dry berthed but nothing like the magnitude of the Texas, commissioned in 1914 and the oldest of the eight remaining American battleships. It's the last the Dreadnought class, patterned after the British battleship that featured unprecedented speed and armaments at the turn of the 20th century.

In World War I, it served as U.S. flagship in the British Grand Fleet. In 1940, it was named flagship of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and participated in D-Day in 1944. It experienced casualties when hit by German artillery off France, then provided support for World War II battles at Iwo Jima and Okinawa in the Pacific, using its main battery of 10 14-inch guns to fire 1,500-pound shells up to 12 miles .

It was decommissioned in 1948 and came under care of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. A berth was carved out on what was known as Santa Anna Slough, a swamp that empties into the Houston Ship Channel. The muddy acreage is where Gen. Sam Houston and his army of Texans in 1836 defeated Mexican Gen. Santa Anna to win Texas' independence and it's across the channel from one of the world's largest petrochemical complexes.

"You have one of the most significant battlefields on the North American continent with one of the most significant naval ships in the world," Smith said. "You could argue that both definitely are one of a kind."

Dark blue paint, matching its look when in the Pacific at the end of World War II, masks some of the surface problems.

"You're dealing with a metal artifact sitting in a brackish environment in high humidity," Smith said. "How do you treat an artifact? Traditionally we put it in a climate controlled space where you control for temperature, humidity and light. You can't do that with an almost 600-foot-long ship."

The first long-overdue major repairs occurred in 1988 — 40 years after it arrived. By then, it had become stuck in mud. Flooding inside had caused serious corrosion. It gingerly was towed to a Galveston shipyard and essentially given a new hull.

"But they didn't get into as much of the inner part," Smith said. "They had a limited budget ... And things didn't get done. It's no fault or no blame, just the reality of the situation."

The ship continued to deteriorate. There have been two serious incidents this year, including one where a pump failed, water poured in, the ship got lower and weak spots normally just above the water line began taking more water. By the time the leaks were plugged, 100,000 gallons needed removal.

"One of the things you have to understand about a ship like this is it was in a weird sort of way designed to leak," Smith said. "It was a battleship designed to take a lot of damage and inflict a lot of damage. The way it is set up is you can flood a lot of it and it's still OK.

"The problem we have is in combat, its normal life, you have almost 1,800 men working on it. We have about 18."

The dry berth permanently removes it from the water and hopefully eliminates the problem of water inside that causes "this downward spiral," as Smith calls it, of more corrosion and more holes.

Thomas described the task for project architects as "variations of a boat in the bathtub and getting the water out of the bathtub."

One early suggestion was putting the Texas on a floating barge. That was dismissed after considering the ship is 120 feet tall from top to keel and would damage the look of the battlefield it shares.

"One of the things we want to do is respect the context," Thomas said. "We have to be sensitive to the fact that the ship itself is the artifact, but it's actually sitting in a sea of artifacts. So that brings a whole other level of complexity and care we have to take because we're certainly not in the business of saving one artifact at the expense of the other."

There is also an environmental concern if the site — a wetland — is drained and turned into a dry area.

About 100,000 people a year visit the ship, which should be less costly to maintain when it's permanently out of the water.

Voters who approved the $25 million in bonds showed they wanted the Texas preserved, Smith said.

"We want to make sure that money is spent well, that we do the right thing that is permanent," he said. "We talk about how to preserve the ship for the next 100, 200 years. We're not talking 10, 15, 20, 50 years."

ONLY 8 BATTLESHIPS REMAIN

The Navy has no battleships in its fleet. Eight remain afloat. They are:

· Texas, commissioned March 1914. Transferred to the state of Texas in 1948 as a permanent memorial on the Houston Ship Channel.

· North Carolina, commissioned April 1941. Dedicated as memorial in 1962 at Wilmington, N.C.

· Massachusetts, commissioned May 1942. Transferred to the Massachusetts Memorial Committee and preserved as a memorial in 1965 at Fall River, Mass.

· Alabama, commissioned August 1942. Transferred to the state of Alabama in 1964 for use as a memorial at Mobile, Ala.

· Iowa, commissioned May 1943. Berthed since 2001 in Suisan Bay, San Francisco, Calif., as part of the Reserve Fleet, also known as the Navy's "ghost fleet." Two groups are vying to obtain the ship as a museum berthed in California.

· New Jersey, commissioned May 1943. Donated in 2000 to Home Port Alliance of Camden, N.J., for use as a museum.

· Missouri, commissioned June 1944. Opened as a museum in 1999 at the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

· Wisconsin, commissioned April 1944. Moored at the National Maritime Center in downtown Norfolk, Va., and open to the public since 2001.

http://www.chron.com...tx/7313485.html
  • 0
"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)
Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

#2 TBoneTX

TBoneTX

    Among the 99.44% HOSED at the Guayaquil consulate



Posted 28 November 2010 - 02:11 AM

The Battleship Texas is a sight to behold. Anyone who has any time to spend in the Houston area should certainly see it.

It's very near the San Jacinto Monument, which is also a "wonder of the world" to visit. Last time I was there (too many years ago), there was a short, excellent movie documentary about the Texas war of independence from Mexico, si man.
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#3 scandal

scandal

    Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge drinking warm beer



Posted 28 November 2010 - 02:43 AM

I've never been aboard a battleship.

I have been aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in Alameda CA, and the submarine USS Pampanito in San Francisco. Years ago I accompanied my sons when they were Boy Scouts and we stayed aboard overnight both.

I agree that it is very important to maintain these ships. I've read countless histories of WWII battles, but there's a difference between a book or film and actually being aboard a vessel that served in combat. I was glad I was able to share that history with my boys.
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#4 luckytxn

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 03:27 AM

I have been to the battleship Texas many times as a kid but hadn't been in many decades until about a month ago when I took my wife to the San Jacinto battle ground and it brought back many memories. It would be nice to preserve it but lets face it, it means little to most nowadays. I am awed by it still but I am getting older. It is awesome also that my Uncle served on that ship.

My wife and I went to San Antonio and I took her to the Alamo and explained its history and on the way home I stopped by the San Jacinto monument and explained its history to her and I live not far from it. She liked the monument area and thought it was a nice park. It is at that.
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#5 peejay

peejay

    Super Star Member



Posted 28 November 2010 - 06:11 AM

The San Jacinto Monument and the Battleship Texas is one of the first field trips our elementary school class took when I was a kid growing up in Houston.

I took my wife out to see them both several years ago. The mosquitoes ate us alive that day and we finally had to flee. Some days are better than others to plan a visit.
  • 0
"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)
Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

#6 luckytxn

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 09:40 AM

The San Jacinto Monument and the Battleship Texas is one of the first field trips our elementary school class took when I was a kid growing up in Houston.

I took my wife out to see them both several years ago. The mosquitoes ate us alive that day and we finally had to flee. Some days are better than others to plan a visit.


Most definitely. It is a marsh/swamp there.



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#7 Retscpo

Retscpo

    Member

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 11:40 AM

I've been lucky enough to visit the USS Wisconsin a few times! We even got a special tour when we had the Chief Selectees clean the ship one year! :dance: It is an awesome site! The best Battleship memory for me was watching the Missouri pull alongside for UNREP (underway replenishment) during Desert Shield/Storm! :thumbs:
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#8 trillium13

trillium13

    sigh...:/



Posted 28 November 2010 - 10:30 PM

The Battleship Texas is a sight to behold. Anyone who has any time to spend in the Houston area should certainly see it.


Very cool, it is. :) Not only do you get to wander all over the Texas, you can hang out there and watch big ships pass through the channel.

Just as an aside, if you have a Texas State Parks pass, you get on the ship for free. :D
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#9 Scott & Lai

Scott & Lai

    VJ Border Patrol Officer #1 (nominated by A.J.)



Posted 29 November 2010 - 01:43 AM

Lai and I had a private tour of the U.S.S. Missouri three years ago; we were the last tour group of the day. Also saw the U.S.S. Bowfin submarine that day. Earlier that year we toured the U.S.S. Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego. I'd love to see all the remaining battleships :)
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#10 TBoneTX

TBoneTX

    Among the 99.44% HOSED at the Guayaquil consulate



Posted 29 November 2010 - 01:33 PM

Most definitely. It is a marsh/swamp there.

Speaking of the mosquito (the Texas state bird, or oughta be), who here has attended The Great Texas Mosquito Festival, in Clute (near Lake Jackson)?

http://mosquitofestival.com/

I went once, some years ago, and got a cool T-shirt that lasted for quite a while.

And, by all means, continue with the Battleship thread, si man.
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06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.
06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).
07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?
09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).
09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).
10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."
12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.
12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.
12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.
01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.
01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.
04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").
05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.
05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).
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07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.
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