Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A little history

I've noticed this Historical Landmark on more than one occasion as we passed with our tug and barge en-route to one of the many docks in Houston proper. The other day I had the opportunity to ask the pilot who came aboard, a local Houstonian, what the story was with this old ship. As it turns out, we were passing a bit of U.S. history.

 Her name is the USS Texas and she was built in 1912. Think about that a moment. 1912! That's a long time ago. It's a wonder she still floats. Actually, just barely.
A lot of water has passed under her bow since her birth 100 years ago, but now she sits in hospice, fighting a fight she didn't expect, hull deterioration. Crews work constantly trying to keep up with the many leaks that threaten this old war horse. As of now, they're keeping up.

The pilot told me, "they have many plans in place to save her but it all costs money. Lots of money." She went on to explain that many people think it's a waste to spend money in this trying economic time on an old ship. I could tell by her expression, she disagreed with them.

Between the information the pilot gave me and a google search, I came up with this.
1919- She was the first ship to launch a plane off it's deck.
1939- she received the first commercial radar in the US Navy...ever!
1944- Fired on German defenses at Normandy on D-Day.
1945- A year later she was on the other side of the world providing gunfire support for the landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

That's a pretty impressive resume.

She was the first ship to sport these bad a*s antiaircraft guns!

This ship served in WWI and WWII. You can't just let her sink to the bottom like a old beat up launch boat.
I think she is as much a Historical monument as any monument in D.C. They don't let the Washington Monument decay, do they?

On a lighter fun note. My Dad did some time during WWII on Iwo Jima. It was after the landings. He was part of the many who prepared the bombed out island for landing strips. I wonder if the USS Texas was told to stay in the area after the landing, sort of like a cop on patrol, after the U.S. took the island. That could have happened.
If it did, I wonder if my Dad ever gazed out over the ocean and saw with his own eyes the USS Texas.
That could've happened.

I wonder if he looked at this same ship all those years ago, that I have in photo form on my blog.
That would be cool.

It could've happened.


Jerral Miles said...

I don't want the ship to sink and disappear. If we can make a big deal out of the Titanic, why not this one. Thanks for the history lesson. I had no idea.

Formerly known as Frau said...

She is a beauty and worth saving thats for sure. Like Jerral said thanks for the history lesson. Happy 4th of July!

dcpeg said...

Relics like this old girl are haunting and worth preserving.

Just thinking about the people who served on her and the action they saw . . . overwhelming.

Marilyn said...

Interesting to have that ship still standing and know that maybe you Dad set his eyes on it one day long ago.

Dan Kent said...

Love coincidences like that - I would not be at all surprised if your dad saw the same ship. It is a noble ship.

Daniel LaFrance said...

I don't disagree with the sentiment. Money is always a source for conflict of some kind.

Perhaps have it sit in dry dock. Who is the owner?

There are so many worthwhile causes. Where does one begin. Who assigns the priority for the growing list?

Memories are priceless.