(PatriotWise.com)- The 19fortyfive website reports that during her three and a half decades of service, USS Texas (BB-35) traveled numerous miles across the globe, acting as the fleet and division flagship during 1937 U.S. Fleet maneuvers.
In April 1917, while defending the commercial transport Mongolia, she fired the first American shots of the war on a surfaced German U-Boat.
In March 1919, USS Texas became the first U.S. battleship to launch an airplane from a temporary platform atop her second turret. The battleship was reboilered with six Bureau-Express oil-fired units in 1925-1927. USS Texas was the first U.S. battleship to deploy anti-aircraft weapons and to use directors and range-keepers to regulate shooting. After modernization, Texas rotated between the Atlantic and Pacific until 1931, when she was based in California.
BB-35 was part of Task Group 34.8 (TG 34.8), which supported Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first “Voice of Freedom” broadcast urged Vichy French soldiers not to fight Allied landings.
Walter Cronkite was a teenage reporter onboard the battleship during the operations and was allowed to fly out in one of her OS2U Kingfisher planes.
The old battle wagon supported the Normandy landings. During the shelling of Cherbourg, she was struck by enemy coastal artillery. After repairs at Plymouth, she joined Operation Dragoon. USS Texas provided naval gunfire support during the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
USS Texas is the only surviving battleship from both World Wars.
After the war, several major U.S. battleships were scrapped or repurposed as target ships, but USS Texas was preserved and became the first permanent battleship memorial museum in the U.S. Since April, she’s been anchored in the Houston Ship Channel near the San Jacinto Monument, where Sam Houston’s forces beat the Mexican Army in 1836.
Battleship Texas is the ceremonial flagship of the Texas Navy.
In June 2017, a 6-by-8-inch hole emerged 15 feet below the waterline, causing the ship to list 6 degrees. The ship was in danger of sinking. Thankfully, efforts have been made to save the vessel.
The Battleship Texas Foundation announced that the ship would leave San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site for repairs in mid-August. Crews have cleared 23,000 cubic yards of muck from the ship’s stern since May.
According to the foundation, repairs will be made at Galveston Shipyard.
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, portions of Independence Parkway, and the Lynchburg Ferry will be closed during the transfer. Officials said the transit should be visible from shore all day.
It’s unclear where the ship will be stored after renovations, but Galveston and Corpus Christi have been considered. Seawolf Park is located on Galveston’s Pelican Island, the original home of the Texas Navy. The World War II submarine USS Cavalla and the Stewart, one of three destroyer escorts in the world.