The ship at first was governed by the Battleship Texas Commission which were local businessman in Houston but in 1983 the Legislation turned the management of the USS Texas over to the Texas Parks and Wildlife dept. which were in charge of the San Jacinto Battlegrounds where the ship was located.
In 1948 the USS Texas was decommissioned and placed in LaPorte Texas at the San Jacinto Battlegrounds State Park. From 1948 until 13 December 1988 the ship was never out of the water……. 40 years. Most ships go into dry-dock on average once ever 3 to 6 years. As you could imagine what 40 years could do to a hull. She was no longer afloat as you could well guess. The USS Texas had been sitting on the muddy bottom for close to 36 years and there was a great deal of concern of just how much of the Hull was still intact.
In 1986 some students began a program called “Two Bits for Texas” with Alcoa to collect aluminum can for recycling and then turn that money in for the restoration of the USS Texas. In the summer of 86 at a former crew members reunion the chairman for the Advisory Board Mr. Deney Hair told them that there was definite plans to take the ship and place her in dry-dock for the now badly needed repairs.
In May of 1986 the Texas developed a few leaks but pumps and hard work from the Parks dept. personal brought these under control.
In 1987 Secretary of State Jack Rains helped kick off a renewed effort to obtain the funds needed for the repair of the Texas. Finally when the funds were obtained, about 1 million was gathered via the Two Bits for Texas as well as several companies and private individuals. Roughly 5 million was put up by the Navy and the remainder from the Parks Dept.
Todd Shipyard & Dry-dock Co. in Galveston Texas was awarded the contract. On the 13th of Dec. 1988 at 5:00am the mooring lines were cut and at 5:30am the first of the tugs arrived. It took a total of 5 Tugs and eight hours of work before the ship was finally freed from the muddy bottom of the slip that she had been in for 40 years. She arrived at Todd in the early evening and was quickly brought into the dry-dock.
From Dec. 88 until Feb.90 she went through a great deal of repairs, Todd Shipyard crew took about 10,000 readings of the thickness of the steel hull. Any section of the hull that was less than 3/8″ thick was replaced. A total of 235,000 lbs of steel was replaced by Todd shipyard during the repairs. After the repairs were made they applied a total of 9,200 gallons of paint to restore her to what she looks like today.
Also while at Todd’s shipyard there were many rooms and compartment that were restored to the theme of the spring of 1945. As mentioned above with the painting, the Texas was painted in was known as “Measure 21” paint scheme of 1945. The restoration continues today on-board the Texas and will for the life of the ship but the Todd Shipyard did a fabulous job on the restoration and deserve a large Texas thank you.
While the Texas was at Todd Shipyard they removed the concrete that had been applied to the deck when the original wood planking had rotted away. After the concrete was removed the steel deck was repaired. After the ship was repaired at Todd Shipyard the Texas was towed to Greens Bayou which is where the New Wooden deck was installed. Approx. 5000 pine 16ft. 4″ x 4″ beams were placed on the deck to bring back the original look of a Battleships deck.
With the deck repair completed and the modifications to the ships berth finished the USS Texas BB-35 returned to here port. During this trip there were three dozen former members of the ships crew that road with the USS Texas. Some of the members were Mr. Julio Zaccagni who served on-board during the time when the Texas was on North Atlantic escort duty. Mr. Dale Byars who served aboard the Texas from May 42 until Nov. 44, he saw action during the North African Invasion and Normandy (when the Texas served as the flagship) D-Day. Another former crew member who was with them was Mr. Ray Barth who served on-board after the USS Texas was assigned to the Pacific, he saw action during Iwo Jima and the Philippines.
Most of the men aboard were impressed at the change that had taken place to the ship and expressed their enjoyment to see that the ship had been repaired and not let deteriorate any further. There were many others on-board that day but this was just to name a few.
While the ship was in dry dock one of the many things to do was determine the hulls thickness and where needed replace the thin or in some areas missing metal. The white markings are the thickness readings of the hull at that location.
If you look closely on this photo you will notice that the forward tower assembly has been removed. The photo below shows it sitting on the dry dock floor.
This photo shows them replacing sections of the hull that was less the 3/8″ thick.
By removing the forward tower this made it much easier and safer to repair/restore it.
Here they are beginning to paint the hull.
A view from the rear of the dry dock.