Battleship Texas Foundation (BTF), with our partners, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Historical Commission, announce that Battleship Texas will be departing San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site for repairs in mid-August. Repairs will be done at Gulf Copper & Manufacturing Corporations’ Galveston Shipyard. A departure date will be announced as soon as it is set, which may be as close as four days before the tow. Due to weather or delays, the departure may need to be postponed.
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, parts of Independence Parkway, and the Lynchburg Ferry will be closed to the public on the departure date. The ship can be viewed throughout her route over most of the day. A good viewing location for the public is the Texas City Dike. The ship should pass the dike around early to mid-afternoon.
Once a departure date is set, it will be announced via every possible channel (social media, our newsletter, local news, our website, etc.). Throughout the departure day, live updates will be posted on battleshiptexas.org/departure. This will include tentative scheduling updates, possibly live streaming, and progress updates through out the day.
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It’s getting very busy here on the big blue beautiful battlewagon! For the past four weeks, our operations team have been working hard to knock out the final tasks to get the ship ready to have Resolve (the marine salvage company) back aboard for the tow and for the shipyard. The bulk of what we have done is opening and inspecting tanks, soundings, ballast tank integrity checks, and installing temporary lighting to make work safer in areas without functional lighting. It is miserable, tiring, back-breaking work in the record-breaking heat and humidity.
At the same time, our wonderful, wonderful volunteers have been shouldering a great deal of work. They have been helping us get spaces clean and organized while pitching in to help move hoses and open tank hatches. These great folks are always willing to step up and do whatever they can to help the ship. They are a force multiplier and have been absolutely invaluable to this project.
Last week, Resolve delivered a tractor-trailer load of their gear – pumps, hoses, a portable electrical distribution system (for the pumps), and one of three backup generators for backup power.
Also, Russell Marine worked on removing part of an old, sunken sheet pile that extends partially into the ship’s path out of the berth. When the ship was brought back to San Jacinto in 1990, they maneuvered around it. We – BTF and Valkor (our project management and engineering company) – feel confident that we can avoid it bringing the ship out, but we want to ensure that we have the widest possible safety margins on everything we do. So, we are having it pulled.
Monday, Resolve’s pump installation team arrived to start installing pumps that we might need during the tow. Unfortunately, leaks will be unavoidable. Texas is an old ship; she leaks and will leak more while she is being towed because she will be moving and working in ways she hasn’t since 1990. That said, the work that has been done on the ship since 2014 (repairing watertight boundaries and the inner bottom over almost half the ship’s length and foaming the blisters and critical interior tanks) and the final preparation work that we are doing now (closing hatches, testing watertight boundaries, etc.) have greatly reduced the overall risk to the ship and that any water will make it beyond tanks and into the interior of the ship.
With all of this underway, we are now just about a month away from dry dock. We are targeting mid-August for departure from San Jacinto and there will be another update about that coming very soon. In the meantime, thanks for reading and thanks for your support as always!
We’ll start off with the biggest news since our last update – on June 4th, Gulf Copper’s newest dry dock arrived in Galveston. This dry dock’s first job will be the repair of Battleship Texas later this summer. Since October 2021, Gulf Copper has been preparing this dry dock for the tow from the Bahamas and for Battleship Texas. They still have some work to do before the dock is ready for us, but we are tentatively expecting a mid-August departure date for Battleship Texas. As soon as we have an exact date, we will make an announcement.
Since our last update, our staff and volunteers have also fully disassembled, blasted/needle gunned, repainted, and close to reassembled the first of ten quad 40 mm Bofors. Our team has also replaced seals, replaced bearings, and done a myriad of other odd jobs on this mount.
In late May, much of the necessary dredging around Battleship Texas was completed by Matthews Brothers Inc. Their crew removed about 23,000 cubic yards of mud (that’s 17,585 meters cubed for our readers abroad) from around the stern area of the ship. This clears a path for the ship to be towed into the Houston Ship Channel later this year. Matthews Brothers may come back for some additional dredging as we get close to the departure date, but most of the work is done.
Also in late May, the Superstructure Rehabilitation Project began. You may recall that in September 2021 we were awarded a half million dollar grant from the Save America’s Treasures grant program. This project will address a major backlog of deferred maintenance on the Superstructure. The first step in this project has been to remove hazardous materials throughout the foremast, main mast, and aft fire control tower. A&M Environmental and SSCI Environmental have been our contractors on this phase of the project and are still at work removing lead-based paint and asbestos. If you’ve been to San Jacinto recently, you may have noticed some of this work going on from shore.
2/16/22 – First Update of 2022
10/27/21 – Gulf Copper Shipyard in Galveston Selected for Repair of Battleship Texas
LA PORTE— The Battleship Texas Foundation (BTF) has selected Gulf Copper & Manufacturing Corporation’s Galveston shipyard as the location for the repair of the Battleship Texas. With the support of the Battleship Texas Foundation and Valkor Energy Services (BTF’s project management and engineering firm for the ship repair), Gulf Copper recently acquired a floating drydock capable of lifting the Battleship Texas out of the water for necessary and extensive hull repairs.
Gulf Copper’s new drydock acquisition is a critical milestone in the Battleship Texas’s $35 million hull repair project. Gulf Copper’s new drydock makes their Galveston shipyard viable for the Battleship Texas hull repair. In addition, the location of the yard in Galveston significantly reduces the risk of towing the Battleship to drydock since the tow is both in sheltered waters and the distance is much shorter than other potential options. The project group including the BTF, the operator of the Battleship Texas, Valkor, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the ship’s owner, has worked carefully to mitigate the risks to the ship throughout the entire project. The Battleship Texas is projected to enter Gulf Copper’s new Galveston drydock in the second quarter of 2022, after the dry dock is made ready for the battleship.
Since the ship closed to the public in August 2019, BTF, TPWD, and Valkor have worked to prepare the ship for the shipyard. As one of one the preparation activities, Resolve Marine Group was contracted in 2020 to prepare the ship for tow by BTF and Valkor. BTF, Resolve, and Valkor worked for six months to drastically reduce the amount of water leaking into the Battleship Texas. By installing over 750,000 gallons of expanded foam, this team reduced the leak rate from 2,000 gallons per minute to under 20 gallons per minute, making the ship significantly safer to tow. The Battleship Texas Foundation operates the Battleship Texas under a 99-year memorandum of understanding from TPWD who owns the battleship. In 2019, the Texas legislature passed SB1511 directing TPWD to enter a 99-year lease with a qualified nonprofit to operate the ship. In the same session, the legislature appropriated $35 million to fund the hull repair of Battleship Texas.
The Battleship Texas Foundation would like to thank its partners – Valkor Energy Services, Resolve Marine Group, TPWD, and Gulf Copper & Manufacturing Corporation – for achieving this milestone in the long-term survival of Battleship Texas.
9/10/21 – Battleship Texas Awarded Save America’s Treasures Grant
The National Parks Service, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services has awarded Battleship Texas a $500,000 grant for the repair and restoration of her superstructure, through the Save America’s Treasures grant program. The ship’s superstructure is the structures above the main deck, other than the ship’s five 14″ gun turrets. This is one of the major pieces of additional work that we have been wanting to do while in dry dock, and we are excited to share more about the scope of this project in the near future.
Our museum ship friends at Battleship New Jersey and USS The Sullivans were also awarded funding through the Save America’s Treasures grant program, so be sure to congratulate them as well!
Howdy everyone and welcome back to another monthly update from the Battleship Texas. We have had a few things going on since our last. Perhaps first and foremost was the Independence Day Celebration which we hosted aboard the ship that weekend. We had over 9,000 people come out and visit the ship for the event and it was a pleasure to have the public walking the decks and interacting with the ship once more.
As part of the work to prepare the ship for visitors on the 4th of July, the volunteers helped to disassembly the old case which housed the ship’s silver. This case was added to the ship in 1948 when Texas became a museum and has sat in the wardroom since then. It was carefully removed and will stay in storage until we reopen as a museum again.
Work continues on Texas’ AA guns at the warehouse. The volunteer crew have been putting in great work with the 3”/50s and the reassembly of the first 4 guns are slowly coming along. The ship’s crew have been working on the 20mm Oerlikons and have successfully removed all the guns from their mounts. They all been found to be completely seized due to rust and disassembling them have turn into a very difficult task. To this end, we have purpose built a tank just for them and have been cycling them in and out of bath of Evaporust to make it easier for them to be broken down into their component parts.
Conservation work on the ship’s propeller has continued with OnAim spearheading the work. The propeller was flipped upside down in the parking lot of the warehouse and the conservation work begun on the back side first. Many thanks to them and Certified Crane and Rigging for their efforts in this monumental task.
Speaking of OnAim’s work, they have also started conservation work on the bell from the first battleship Texas, a pre-dreadnought battleship from 1895. The bell was removed from its display aboard the ship and moved to our warehouse with the help of TyArt Art Services. While the work has only just started, the bell is already starting to look great. These conservation efforts would not be possible without the help of TPWD and we would be remiss to not take a second to thank them as well.
We also want to take a second and say that we have started a youtube channel as well and have uploaded our first official video to it! Our first video features our VP of Ship Operations, Travis Davis, and he talks about the History of the Battleship Texas Foundation and why we were selected to maintain the ship. If you have a few minutes, be sure to check it out and subscribe so you’ll be notified when our next video is out!
Howdy, we’re back at it with yet another update from around the ship. So, we’ll not waste any more time and just get right into our update. The AA gun restoration project has come along nicely these last few weeks, with several 3” guns continuing the reassembly process; however, we are bottled necked slightly in the sourcing and manufacture of some replacement gears. More attention to the 3” gun breeches and the deflection and elevation gears for the gun sights are coming back together as well. The month of May saw the first gun sights beginning to be reattached to the guns with the aid of a 20-ton overhead crane which made the whole process a much easier endeavor.
While the volunteer crew has been working on the 3” guns, our maintenance staff has begun opening up our mark 51 gun directors and 20mm guns. The mark 51 gun directors were connected to the ship’s 40 mm Bofors mounts and would aim the guns at whatever target the gun director points towards. We have no plans at the moment to restore that functionality, but they are in desperate need of some TLC. The gun directors have had their mark 14 gun sights removed and the gun director internals has been cleaned and repainted to better protect them from the elements.
The mark 14 gun sights mounted to the gun directors have proven to be a complete challenge in and of themselves. The gun sights are housed in an exterior shell that is made mostly of a fiber-reinforced resin similar to Bakelite. On some of the exteriors, the paint has worn off due to the elements, so much so that you can even see the fiber reinforcement mixed in with the resin. This material requires special care and cannot be simply blasted and repainted like steel. We’ve been researching safe and efficient ways to remove the existing paint, but we suspect the best method moving forward is with slow, careful, manual labor utilizing a soft plastic scraper. So far two of the gun sights have been opened and revealed signs of deterioration which they are in the process of remediating.
This brings us to the 20mm guns which our staff has been working on as a side project. Those guns have spent nearly 73 years in the elements with minimal attention given, leading them to be in rough shape. The guns are so seized with rust that the best way to maintain them is to place them into a tank filled with a pH-neutral liquid that will remove rust without damaging the steel. On our first 20mm gun, the first soak cleaned up enough rust that the gun’s handle could now be removed after heating, allowing us to access the gun’s trigger mechanism, but the barrel still refused to come off. We saw that the solution hadn’t made it into the trigger mechanism because of how tightly sealed it was, so we’ve decided to soak it again before we try to remove the barrel again.
We have two very big pieces of news. In our last update, we mentioned a work-in-progress exhibit at the Lone Star Flight Museum. Well, that exhibit is now complete and fully open for everyone to see! Lone Star Flight Museum has graciously given us an exhibit space in their building for a while so head on over to see the ship’s restored bell which we’ve talked about, artifacts, and more information about what has been occurring at the ship. The 20 mm Oerlikon gun trailer is also on display in the museum’s Waltrip Hangar, where it will remain while not on the road for at least the rest of the year. We’ll have a small crew there this Saturday, so feel free to swing by and say hi!
And for the biggest news of the month, Battleship Texas will be temporarily reopening on July 3rd and 4th of this year! As the inside of the ship is more of a construction site than a museum, visitors will only have access to the main deck and above. Despite these limitations, we’ll have living history volunteers onboard, some artifact displays, as well as docents around the ship, to answer any questions y’all may have. So come on down and celebrate Independence Day on everyone’s favorite battleship!
We’ve got a lot of exciting news to share with you from the past month. First up, we’d like to recognize one of our most dedicated volunteers, Jim Self! Jim received the Museumships Bravo Zulu award for his service to Battleship Texas. Jim put in over 100 hours on the AA gun restoration project last year alone and helped connect us with NRG, who donated the use of the warehouse we’ve been working in for almost a year now. Bravo Zulu, Jim!
We have been making steady progress with the 3”/50 AA guns. Two more guns have been returned sporting a fresh coat of paint, thanks to CPS Houston, giving us a grand total of four guns now ready and in the process of reassembly. Two of these guns are having their breech blocks reassembled and placed correctly into the gun itself. The other two are having their ball bearings replaced. Speaking of ball bearings, Texas Bearing Services gave us the next shipment of 300 ball bearings to continue the restoration process for these guns. Great job to all!
On the subject of volunteer projects, we now have a new volunteer page on our website! This page not only features a place where you can apply to volunteer but also pictures and information about volunteer projects past and present. Over time we hope to add more projects to the page; particularly we would like to recognize a couple more past volunteer projects, such as the CIC restoration and Hard Hat Tours. So, if you are interested in volunteering to help us with these projects, feel free to check out our website and apply!
The ship’s bell was removed from the mainmast and taken to the offsite warehouse along with the AA guns last year. About a month and a half ago intense efforts have been made to thoroughly conserve the bell and ensure that it will last for another 100 years. To this end, OnAim Conservation has spent time diligently treating corrosion on the bell and polishing it. By the end of March, they wrapped up their work after applying a protective wax coating to the bell’s exterior. You might say the bell is looking ship-shape, so a big Bravo Zulu to them!
In the past year, Texas was asked to donate steel to help construct a new desk for the secretary of the navy, which we humbly accepted. The desk was built by Seabees and took nearly 7 weeks to complete. The desk incorporates materials from other famous museum ships from around the US such as Arizona, New Jersey, Constitution, Chesapeake, and Constellation. The desk will serve as a reminder of our nation’s naval heritage for future SECNAVs and we are deeply honored to have helped to contribute to its construction. (Photo below courtesy of the US Navy’s Facebook post)
Finally, perhaps the biggest news of the month, soon YOU will be able to see the ship’s bell in person. Our friends at the Lone Star Flight Museum have graciously offered to host a Battleship Texas exhibit in their Warbird Ready Room. For the better part of a month, our crew has been working hard to prepare the exhibit space to explain more in-depth about what has been going on at the ship lately as well as plans for the near future. We are in the home stretch of preparing the exhibit, as we are still getting items ready to display, but we look forward to announcing an official opening sometime in the coming weeks.
Howdy yall! We’re back with another update from around the ship! It has been relatively easy going since Resolve left us in December but that does not mean that we have stayed idle. With the start of the New Year, we have been working on other projects to help prepare the ship for the move as well as turning our attention to the restoration work of the secondary battery and anti-aircraft guns. So, let us jump into our update for the month!
It is hard to tell from the shore, but there have been some big changes around here. All the exterior on-deck hatches have been closed and secured shut. With this done the ship has been made more secure from overnight trespassers, specifically the wildlife which have had a tendency of wandering aboard in the past. In order to still access the inside of the ship, we have had a new ladder manufactured by Certified Pipe Services Houston and fitted to a hatch located inside the superstructure next to our offices. This greatly secures the ship and allows us to regulate whatever comes onboard.
With the hatches closed, our crews have turned their attention to the 5” secondary guns which are still on the ship. While these are not coming off the ship until the dry dock, our crews have worked towards getting the breeches reopened. Of the six 5”/51 secondary guns onboard, five have been seized shut since at least the late 60s. As of the 25th of January, all the breeches have been reopened, which means the barrels will now be easily cleaned out and better attention can be given towards their preservation. Bravo Zulu to Gregg, Kyle, Marco, and Kyle2 for their careful work in taking the first steps for the 5” guns’ preservation.
Speaking of guns, our volunteers have been continuing their hard work on restoring the 3”/50 anti-aircraft guns. Two mounts have been completely stripped of the many layers of old paint which had caked the outside and a fresh coat has been applied. This has led to finer details which had once been obstructed to be made legible. Things such as smaller proof marks to even the forge markings on the barrels of the guns. Both of these guns now in the process of being diligently reassembled. One mount is in the process of being disassembled so that it may be repainted, and another is away in the process of being repainted by CPS Houston. With the disassembly of these guns old parts which have been worn out, or have failed completely, are being fixed or replaced. They have also started working on one of the 20mm Oerlikon AA guns which has proven to be a complete challenge in and of itself. The Oerlikons have been on board ship when the navy placed them on Texas’ deck in 1948 but they have seen minimal amounts of attention paid to them aside from fresh coats of paint. With them at our off-site facility, it makes them easier to work on and preserve them for the future. Special thanks to our volunteers of Jim, Bob, Ron, Calvin,
For example, the ball bearings which the mounts turn on have been found to be in poor condition as many of them have serious pitting and other signs of severe deterioration. Every single mount for the 3”/50 AA guns holds 138 ball bearings, and with 10 mounts in total, that meant we needed to replace 1,380 ball bearings. However, Texas Bearing Services has stepped in and pledged to replace all of them for us as a donation. The first shipment of 150 ball bearings just came in, with more shipments on the way as we progress with the restoration work. We are mighty appreciative of them for their generosity and say “thanks yall!” for the support!!
We hope you have enjoyed our update and we thank you for your continuing support of the ship. We will have another update made available as we make progress around the ship but in the meantime, we hope everyone continues to stay safe as we move forwards through 2021.
Howdy, everyone, we’re back with what will be the last update for Phase Two. The last of the foam was put into the blister tanks by Resolve on Monday and began their process of complete demobilization from the ship. Phase Two started back on July 27th and has taken us 142 long and arduous days to complete. The obstacles we faced ranged from the blistering summer heat to the threat of hurricanes, but despite this, Resolve, BTF, Total Safety, and Valkor worked together until the end. The process wasn’t smooth all the time but everyone rolled with the punches to reach the finish line, and for that, all of us here at the Battleship Texas are thankful for their commitment to the ship. We know the task wasn’t an easy one so we would like to personally thank all those who helped us. From Resolve: Caesar, Charlie, Chris, Dakota, Dan, Eddie, Ethan, Frankie, Jan, Jen, John, Mark, Mujeeb, Sean, Taylor, Tyler, and Walt.From Total Safety: Aaron, Casey, Derek, Ivan, Joey, Joseph, Scott, and Travis
From Valkor: Augusto, Brad, Danny
and of course, our ship’s crew: Gregg, Kandace, Kyle, Part-Time, Marco, and Travis.
Bravo Zulu all, we are thankful that you stuck with us and helped to take the first steps of getting the ship into dry dock for repairs. We hope to see everyone back when the ship leaves for dry dock! As for everyone else, we don’t know when the ship is going to leave for dry dock yet but rest assured y’all will know as soon as we do. We will continue to post updates in the meantime as there are still things to do but, with Resolve leaving and Christmas coming up soon, they will not be as constant as they have been for the past 4.5 months. Should we not have an update before then, we hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a great 2021!
Howdy, y’all, everyone’s favorite battleship back again to bring y’all yet another update. This week Valkor, BTF, Houston, and Galveston Pilots Association came together at the San Jacinto College’s Maritime Campus to see a revised simulation for towing the ship. It was impressive and offered good insight of how to tow the ship once the time comes. This week also saw the beginning of demobilization for Resolve as their divers began to leave. With the foaming nearly finished, their need to dive and patch holes has dropped drastically. So they spent this week packing their dive trailer in anticipation of sending it back. While the divers prepared to leave, the foam team has been wrapping up their work inside the port side tanks of 11, 12, 13, and 14. Once these are completed the whole phase of this project will be completed, just in time for the start of the holiday season. Speaking of the holiday season, we do have an online store if you’re looking for some last-minute gifts. Anything from T-shirts to Tumblers, we’ve got everything you need for that battleship fan in your life!
Howdy, everyone, we’re back from our Thanksgiving break but before we go into our update we have a quick announcement. We now have an online store so if you’d like to support us while also getting some amazing stuff, go check it out! https://battleship-texas-foundation.myshopify.com/col…/all
Now let’s jump right into our update! After a very welcomed Thanksgiving break, Resolve hit the ground running this week to finish foaming the torpedo blister tanks. However before they could begin, they had to first remove about 8 feet of mud which rested at the bottom of the last 4 tanks. These 4 are all side by side and were deemed the most difficult to prep so they were saved for last. It was dirty work, but by Saturday they had finished removing the mud and began prepping the tanks for foaming. They then came in today to begin the actual foaming process. Many thanks to them for all their hard work and dedication! Another disassembled 3” gun and it’s parts have been returned to us from CPS Houston after it was all carefully blasted, primed, and painted. With it back to us at our offsite location, we can’t wait to begin the process of reassembling it with our volunteers as soon as possible!
Howdy yall, we’re back for the next edition of our updates. This week has been a busy one, however, we should note that everyone will be off next week for Thanksgiving and so there will not be an update. Everyone has been working hard to see this phase of the project for more than 4 months now and a week off to rest and recharge is very welcomed by everyone. First of all the ship would like to say thanks to The Lemon Tree for providing the ship’s crew with food on Thursday! They came out all the way from the west side of town to set up and serve us all some delicious Peruvian dishes and for that, we are all extremely grateful! Resolve this week has completely finished all of the starboard side blister tanks and have shifted their attention to a few inboard tanks in the stern as well as wrapping up the tanks 11-15 on the port side. The biggest obstacle they face is the removal of mud from tanks 14 and 13 on the port side. This is something which will be picked up and finished when everyone returns. The breeches to the 3” AA guns have been opened with thanks to NRG for lending their hydraulic press. The breeches have been inspected and the bores found to be in very good condition. Our ship’s crew removed deck wood to inspect potential towing port for tugs to pull the ship from when the ship is ready to move. To this end, one of Valkor’s engineers were crucial in helping to expedite the processes of removing the deck wood as they offered much-needed assistance to our ship’s crew. I am of course saying this by my own free will and was in no way pressured by their engineer to take a photo to make it look like they were working
Howdy, everyone, it’s been a bit since we last had an update as work here has been a little busy. However, we’re here today to fill y’all in on what’s been happening these past two weeks. First and foremost we’d all like to thank Primo Taco House for bringing us lunch on Friday. They served the ship’s crew with some fantastic tacos and we’re all very thankful for their generosity!If you had visited the ship two weeks ago, you may have noticed the ship slightly listing to port. This was due to Resolve to want to give their divers better clearance to dive and inspect the hull of the starboard side of the ship. So to achieve that, freshwater was pumped into void spaces below the third deck. This tilted the ship one degree and gave Resolve’s divers sufficient space to work. As Resolve continues working to foam the inside of the torpedo blister tanks they have trained more of their staff to use the foam machines. Has let them foam two tanks at once and, as of right now, they have foamed inside 39 of the 44 torpedo blister tanks.
Howdy, y’all! It’s everyone’s favorite battleship back for our weekly update. And to help show our progress, Resolve Marine graciously gave us a diagram with the current foam levels inside the torpedo blister tanks. 32 tanks have been completed and two more are in the progress of being finished. Those of Resolve not foaming, were diving outside of or entering the starboard side torpedo tanks on the bow to get them dewatered and ready for foaming. One team from Total Safety used some downtime to practice their rappelling from the Flag Bridge to the Signal Bridge. And this Friday they brought their trailer and served lunch to everyone on board. Many thanks to them! Our crews continued the work on the 5” guns and with some hard work, a little bit of heating, and a heavy-duty impact hammer, the bolts have slowly become freed. With almost half of the 5” guns being unbolted, it brings those guns one step closer to being removed.
Howdy, everyone, we’re back with yet another update for the ongoing vessel prep here at the ship! Resolve Marine Group continues to foam the insides of the torpedo blister tanks and, as of today, they have foamed inside 32 of the 44 blister tanks. They’ve made great headway and are on schedule to finish this phase of the project in November! Our ship’s crew have begun work on removing the bolts to the 5” gun mounts so that the guns can be removed in the yard for restoration. This entails heating up the bolts as they, more than likely, have not been removed since the day the guns were relocated onto the main deck back in 1925. On our offsite location, restoration of the 3” guns have gone along smoothly as the 4th and final layers have been applied to the first gun. The last step will be to reassemble them and they will be completely finished! Big thanks to our volunteers for putting in the time and effort to help! Of course many thanks to yall for taking an interest in our restoration project and following us for updates!
Howdy, everyone! Before we start this week’s update we hope everyone is staying dry as the outer bands of Hurricane Delta have now passed Houston. Storm wise the rain had been light and did not impede our work much. In fact, the mosquitoes proved to be the biggest annoyance as they all seemed to take shelter on the ship. Anyway, let’s move forward on this week’s update! This week Resolve continued to foam the torpedo blister tanks and to date, 28 of the tanks have been completed! This leaves Resolve with only 18 more to complete before all the blister tanks are done. Resolve also completed foaming below and in the compartments on either side of aft steering. This progress helps get the ship one step closer to being ready for the move! As far as the secondary guns go, the first of the 3” guns have been disassembled and sandblasted free of the old paint. The next step will be to paint them and reassemble which should occur sometime in the near future! The first breach of the 5” guns were also opened up for the first time after being seized closed for over 50 years! Despite being filled with rust and sand, the bores seem to have washed out well enough and grease was applied to the breach to guarantee it does not become seized again.
Howdy y’all, we’re back again with our weekly update to what’s been going on here at your favorite battleship! The ship weathered Tropical Storm Beta well with the decks getting a good washing from the rain. Aside from that, work continued steadily with the hatches being reopened the day the storm passed. Resolve spent the week preparing more torpedo blister tanks, which included pumping out mud, on the port side and had foam put into two more tanks. Resolve also continued to work down below in aft steering to make sure the internal tank below it will be ready for foaming. In total, 25 of the 44 blister tanks have been completed. We also welcomed the First Texas Volunteers back to our offsite location to pick back up on the restoration work on the guns. They’ve started breaking down the first of the 3” guns and were able to open up one of the breeches!
Howdy y’all, we’re back again with another weekly update of the ship! With Tropical Storm Beta looking like its fixing to hit the Houston area, this week was spent closing hatches and clearing out the main deck in preparation for the storm. We are ready for the storm and hope everyone stays safe! This week Resolve Marine Group worked in two different parts of the ships. The first group worked on two problematic torpedo blister tanks on the port side. Along with the ship’s crew, they worked hard all week to get the tanks prepared and ready for foaming. As the storm is heading our way, they work all afternoon on Saturday and in the morning of Sunday to put the foam inside of those two port side tanks. The rest of Resolve and Valkor Engineering worked to make and lower cement for a salvage patch and place them into metal cofferdams located inside rooms on either side of aft steering. This type of patch is used for particularly difficult leaks and will be removed in dry dock and repaired. Finally, we welcomed aboard the captain of the @texasdreadnoughtshockey for photos with their trophy after they had won the OHL championship tournament. Wheel, snipe, celly boys!
Howdy y’all, your favorite battleship back again to give y’all a short update of our ongoing vessel prep process as well as an update to the AA guns! But first, off we’d like to make a short PSA. We’ve noticed a number of people try to come alongside the ship with their personal boats and we’d like to remind everyone that no one is allowed to enter the slip. Especially when we fly the Alpha Signal flag, it is internationally used to let other ships know that there are divers in the water. We have had divers in the water working to help patch holes in the torpedo blisters to help prepare the tanks for foaming all week and people trying to sail into the slip puts these people in danger. We know y’all love the ship but please help keep our crews safe by not entering the slip! Now on to the vessel prep progress. To date, Resolve has completed foaming in 23 of the 44 blister tanks with this week mostly used to prepare more tanks for foaming. Especially, Resolve focused on the port side towards the stern and good progress has been made with the intention to begin foaming again bright and early on Monday. A big thanks to Resolve and our crew for keeping up the hard work! This Saturday we also welcomed the volunteers to our offsite facility to begin working on the first two 3”/50 AA guns! They put in hard work to begin the disassembly of the 3” guns so that the component parts can be restored, we think they’ve done a fantastic job so far!
Battleship Texas Foundation Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Transfers Operational Control of the Battleship Texas to the Battleship Texas Foundation
[SG1] HOUSTON – Effective August 1, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has transferred operations of the Battleship Texas to the Battleship Texas Foundation (BTF).
In 2019, the BTF and TPWD entered a memorandum of understanding/lease (MOU) with TPWD whereby the BTF would operate and maintain the Battleship TEXAS for TPWD and the State of Texas. Under terms of the MOU between these two long standing partners, the operational control is transferred via a 99-year lease to the Foundation.
The Texas has been closed to the public since August of 2019 to allow preparations for her transport to a shipyard for extensive restoration.
Currently, the BTF and TPWD are preparing the ship for transportation to a shipyard where her hull will be replaced from the waterline down and repainted, along with other necessary repairs and improvements. The ship is tentatively scheduled to depart her current berth between November-December 2020 and be in the shipyard for a period of approximately 12 months. Once the battleship leaves the shipyard, we anticipate the ship arriving in the new berth around January-February 2022. Following a period to prepare the ship for reopening, the plan is to have it receiving visitors by 1st Quarter 2022.
Once the Battleship TEXAS is reopened to the public the BTF will operate the ship with the highest standards of preservation, maintenance, and will consistently offer new experiences and programs for the ship’s visitors to enjoy.
The BTF is a nonprofit foundation that was founded in 1999. Its mission is to preserve and enhance the Battleship TEXAS and develop this historic ship into a premier museum and visitor attraction. In 2019 the BTF and TPWD (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department) entered a 99-year memorandum of understanding/lease (MOU) with TPWD whereby the BTF would operate and maintain the Battleship TEXAS for TPWD and the State of Texas.
Battleship Texas Update
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.Thank y’all!
-The Battleship Team
Battleship Texas Update
Since our last update, everyone’s world seems to have been
turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic. First, all of us on the
Battleship TEXAS team (BTF/TPWD/Valkor) hope that you and yours are safe and
healthy. As for us, well, COVID has
slowed us down a bit, and it is starting to cause some delays in crucial areas.
For one, it has slowed some interested parties in getting their proposals for
the berth in due to their, understandable, prioritization of their COVID
response. In response, we are going to review the proposals received to date and
begin conversations with those parties who already submitted a proposal. We are
going to wait for proposals that were delayed by COVID. It also has impacted
the bidding process that Valkor (our project management and engineering company)
is in with various shipyards, we wish we had more than we could tell you on
this subject, but commercial negotiations are sensitive. COVID also impacted ship
operations by forcing us to adopt alternate work schedules for March and April
to ensure social distancing by our staff. Social distancing and alternate work
schedules reduced our ability to continue our primary task of getting the ship
ready for the shipyard and operations transfer. However, that did not stop our
indomitable crew from getting critical work accomplished.
One of the THC permits that was approved in March was for the removal of all the antiaircraft guns, 5” guns, signaling searchlights, and Mk 51 gun directors for restoration. While practicing proper social distancing, our staff spent the last month loosening bolts and preparing these objects for removal. It was a good thing we did that! We reached out to Taylor Marine Construction (TMC) the week of April 21 to schedule the gun removal for later in the summer. TMC offered to donate their services if they could do it last week because they were in the neighborhood. So, we scrambled to make sure we had our permit in hand, insurance in place for the guns, and a myriad of other things in time for the guns to be craned off the ship last Wednesday. The great folks at Taylor Marine and our team spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday craning (8) 40mm guns, (10) 3” guns, (8) 20mm guns, (9) Mk 51 gun directors, and (2) 24” signaling searchlights off the ship. We are saving the removal of the (6) 5” guns for when the ship reaches the shipyard as that will be a more delicate and time-consuming operation. Once those guns are off, their deteriorating foundations will be repaired, and they will be completely restored. We are planning for all guns to be reinstalled before the ship leaves the shipyard.
We would like to apologize for holding back on publishing
this information – we wanted to avoid large crowds or the potential of
vandalism while the guns waited over the weekend to be transported to their
temporary home. The safety and security of the ship and her components are our
number one priority after the safety of our guests, staff, and volunteers.
We are also excited to announce that through the kind
donation of trucking services from CPS Houston and the donation of cranes from
Certified Crane and Rigging Service, we got all the AA guns and the ship’s
propeller moved to a secure location for restoration. And through the very
generous donation of the folks at NRG, we have a secure and fully equipped
support facility for our staff and volunteers to restore these objects while
the ship is in the shipyard. And to be our base of operation during the yard
period. NRG and CPS Houston have also generously offered to donate their
abrasive blasting, painting, and fabrication services to us for the gun
restoration project and the ship in general. Rest assured, once this gun
restoration project kicks off later this year, we will be posting pictures of
it. We can’t begin to describe how excited we are about this project and what it
means for this big blue battleship.
Lastly, our crew is returning to a regular work schedule and
will turn back to the primary task of getting the ship ready to head to the
shipyard and for the operations transfer from TPWD to BTF. And along those
lines, we hope to announce other prep work commencing and, fingers crossed, the
shipyard in our update next month. Or sooner if a decision is made before then.
In closing, I would like to ask that you, please, help us show appreciation to
the folks at these fine companies for their generosity this great ship!
Taylor Marine Construction – Julius Taylor and the Taylor
CPS Houston – Ray Yarbrough, Kyle Yarbrough, and the
Certified Crane and Rigging Service – Paul Watson
NRG – Mike Ingram,
Chuck Abendroth, and David Martin
The Battleship Texas Foundation is excited to announce that the Texas Historical Commission has approved three (3) permits allowing major work to begin on the Battleship Texas. Below is the press release distributed by the Texas Historical Commission on 26 March 2020. We will release the details of the permits when the repair facility is selected. So check back for future updates!
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) approved three permits enabling major work to begin on the relocation and restoration of the Battleship Texas.
In a special posted meeting conducted by teleconference, the THC’s executive committee took actions enabling the Battleship Texas Foundation to prepare the ship for relocation to a shipyard for restoration.
“We are grateful for the assistance and support we have received from the THC, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and all our partners and donors from across the state,” said Bruce Bramlett, the Battleship Texas Foundation’s chief operating officer and executive director. “We have a lot to do now, and we can’t wait to get started.”
The permits also authorize restoration work on the vessel’s hull and “blister” – twin compartments that helped protect it from torpedoes or other assaults – and projects involving the removal and restoration of large deck pieces, like cannons and searchlights.
The 86th Texas Legislature approved funding to move and restore the Battleship Texas. Due to the importance and complexity of the project, the THC Executive Committee conducted a special public meeting through teleconference after the agency’s scheduled March meeting was postponed in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Battleship Texas Update
It is a been a little over a month since our last update when we put out the
press release announcing the release of the RFP (request for proposals) for the
Battleship’s new home port. Since then, the Battleship TEXAS team (BTF, TPWD,
and Valkor) have gotten quite a bit done.
Since the press release, we have extended the deadline for proposal
submissions by 30 days to April 10th. This came at the request of groups that
are preparing proposals. As of now, we know of five groups that are planning to
submit proposals. No, we cannot say who they are the moment for multiple
reasons. Once the proposals are submitted, we will invite each entity to have
an informal conversation with us about their location. After that, we will
narrow down the proposals to the top three. Once we have selected the top three
proposals, we will post the finalists to our website for public comment. We
anticipate having interviews with the finalists in mid to late May. From there
we will select the winning proposal for the Battleship TEXAS’ new home and
announce the location. To say that we have a high level of anticipation for the
end of the selection process, is an understatement!
While we await the submission of new home proposals, the planning for the
shipyard project keeps humming along and hitting milestones. The Battleship
TEXAS team submitted the necessary antiquities permits for the Texas Historic
Commission two weeks for review and approval by the THC commissioners next
week. Once the THC has approved our permits for the work, we will share what
the scope of work looks like and our basic plan for moving the Battleship.
Speaking of scope of work, Valkor, our project management contractor, has sent
out invitations to bid to several shipyards along the Gulf Coast over the
weekend. It will be several weeks before we start getting bids in and much
longer than that before a shipyard is selected to perform the work. As we
promised before, we will not release information until it becomes concrete -to
that end we will not release details, until we have all the necessary approvals
(like THC permits) and we have a shipyard under contract.
As the project keeps humming along, on the ship the BTF and TPWD team have
continued to move through ship preparing the ship for the operations transfer,
her trip, and the shipyard. Since February 1, the shipboard team has gone
through 37 compartments removing debris, relocating loose original components
of the ship to centralized storage locations on the ship, and strapping in
loose original furniture and equipment. emptying it of years of accumulated
debris and recyclable materials. Since February 1, we have removed 60 cubic
yards of debris and 40 cubic yards of recyclable materials. Which we estimate
to weigh roughly 30,000 pounds in total. We are estimating that since January
1, we have removed at least 60,000 pounds of debris in total.
And lastly, we want to give a shout out to the Battleship’s dedicated
volunteers who have been working on finishing the restoration of a 3”/50
magazine. They have repainted the magazine and have begun cleaning the 800 plus
3”/50 ammunition storage tubes that were acquired. Each tube contained one 3”
round and allowed for the rounds to be safely transported and loaded into the
magazines of ships. These tubes will give the appearance of what the magazine
would look like full. We are anticipating that this compartment, and others,
will be on new Hard Hat Tour routes or added to the existing Hard Hat Tour when
the ship reopens in the first quarter of 2022.
We greatly appreciate the support that you all have shown us and, more
importantly, the support and love that you give this grand lady. Together, we
will all ensure that her future remains bright and that she continues to keep
the memories of all who served aboard her.
Battleship TEXAS Update
Battleship TEXAS Foundation Releases Request for Proposal for Battleship TEXAS’s New Home
Foundation (BTF) released its request for proposal (RFP) for the selection of
the new home port for the National Historic Landmark Battleship TEXAS on
January 21, 2020. The BTF, a
501c3 nonprofit, is currently accepting proposals for a new berth and home for
the Battleship TEXAS. The Battleship
TEXAS’ current berth at San Jacinto State Historic Site does not financially
support the Battleship’s annual maintenance costs. The BTF is seeking to find a new home port
for the Battleship TEXAS that ensures sufficient paid
visitor revenue can be generated to support the operation and maintenance
needs of the ship well into the future.
The purpose of the RFP is to
solicit proposals from various candidate organizations, after
which the BTF will conduct a fair and extensive evaluation and select the
candidate location that best fulfills the requirements of the BTF. Parties
wishing to submit a RFP must contact the BTF through firstname.lastname@example.org to request
the RFP package.
BTF is a nonprofit foundation that was founded in 1999.
Its mission is to preserve and enhance the
Battleship TEXAS and develop this historic ship
into a premier museum and visitor attraction.
In 2019 the BTF and TPWD (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department) entered a
99-year memorandum of understanding/lease (MOU)
with TPWD whereby the BTF would operate and
maintain the Battleship TEXAS for TPWD and the State of Texas.
BTF and TPWD are preparing the ship for transportation to a shipyard where
her hull will be replaced from the waterline down and repainted, along with
other necessary repairs and improvements. The ship is tentatively scheduled to
depart her current berth between April-August 2020 and be in the shipyard for a
period of approximately twelve-months. Once the battleship leaves the shipyard,
we anticipate the ship arriving in the new berth around August 2021. Following a period to prepare the
ship for reopening, the plan is to have it receiving
visitors by 1st Quarter 2022.
Once the Battleship TEXAS is reopened to the public the BTF
will operate the ship with the highest standards of preservation, maintenance,
and will consistently offer new experiences and programs for the ship’s
visitors to enjoy.
Battleship TEXAS Update
December 18, 2019
It has been awhile since our last update and quite a bit has happened since. Our salvage and transportation contractor finished up their survey right before Thanksgiving. As part of their survey was to perform very extensive thicknesses gauging of her hull and framing, get an understanding of the condition of TEXAS, evaluate how water moves within the ship once it leaks in. The thickness testing that Ardent completed is the most extensive testing done since her last drydocking in 1989. From all the data gathered during the survey several reports will be generated which will feed into the larger transportation plan -the how we move this battlewagon.
Many folks assume that the conceptual animation that we shared in the summer is how we are going to move the ship. It was shared to show a conceptual way that ship could be moved, not necessarily how the ship will be moved. We will have a much better idea on how we are moving the ship once we receive the final reports from the survey. When we announce the transportation plan at the same time we announce which shipyard she is going to for repairs.
Another aspect of the project started this week: preparing the slip for the ship’s departure. Russell Marine is onsite removing the remnants of the 1970s bulkhead that is at the Ship Channel entrance to the ship’s berth. It is being removed to make the dredging operation quicker and easier, allow better tug access to the ship, and significantly reducing the risks associated with bringing the ship out of the berth.
Speaking of berths, we are working to finalize our Request for Proposals (RFP) for the new berth location for the Battleship. We anticipate sending that out shortly after New Years to all interested parties and hope to be able to make an announcement in the first quarter of 2020.
We would like to take a moment to say thank you to all the volunteers and TPWD staff who are working hard alongside us to help make all the necessary shipyard preparations and with the transition of ship operations from TPWD to BTF. Though we are a bit biased, we believe there is a great joint TPWD/BTF team working day in and out on the Battleship getting the ship ready and navigating the operations transition.
Best Regards, Travis Davis Vice President of Ship Operations
Last Wednesday, Ardent Global Marine Services started the
“salvage” survey on the ship. This survey is a critical step in the process of
moving the Battleship TEXAS to a shipyard for restoration work. While we have a
wealth data on the ship’s condition it is vitally important that we make
certain that we have dotted every “i” and crossed every “t”. This survey will
tell us, at minimum, how water moves between the tanks of the ship and where
exactly her weak spots are. Once completed we will be in a position to begin
finalizing our plans for the safe transport of TEXAS.
On October 26th we hosted World of Warships
on the ship. The event was sold out and all that were able to attend had a
fantastic time. Beautiful day and great turnout.
Many of you continue to ask if we might be able to
open the ship up to the public a few times before she departs. Great question -we
continue to study the options. Given all the work still to be done, safety will
be the biggest concern and liability is the key issue. I promise if something
happens where we can safely open the ship for visitation we will. But at this time,
it does not look very likely.
There were two people who questioned why we can’t
provide more detailed information at this time. It is important to understand
that we are in negotiations with a number of ship yards and contractors. Each
of those relationships are covered by Non-Disclosure Agreements. Those
agreements restrict parties on all sides from discussing details of the work.
When this process is completed, we will be more than happy to share more.
Regarding the time line, we are still planning to move
The Texas early in 2020. Many of you are still asking about being in the park
when she starts her journey. We are looking for a way to possibly make that an
One final point I would like to make and will continue
to make is this, there continues to be a lot of parties who are speculating on
where the restoration work will take place. That decision has not been made
yet. There are also lots of people who think they know where the permanent home
of the Battleship TEXAS is. There are lots of misinformation being batted
around on social media. Do not fall for any of that. Meetings and discussion
continue and will continue for a while yet. Once again, we will advise when
firm information is known.
Bramlett Executive Director
Battleship TEXAS Update
Here is my update as
of today. Things continue to move forward at a rapid pace. I thought I would
try and give you some frame of reference for how quickly this is moving. Travis
(our Director of Ship Operations) and I were talking last week about the TEXAS’
trip to Galveston in the late 1980s and Travis reminded me that the planning
for that trip took between 2-3 years. This is a much more challenging effort
and the current condition of TEXAS requires us to make sure that everything is
done to the highest standard. Which we are and will continue to do. Our team is
using the experience and lessons learned in the Battleship’s 1988 shipyard trip
in addition to considerable amount of experience and expertise that each member
brings to the table. This tremendous team is made up of folks from BTF, TPWD,
and Valkor. We are all working together to ensure that the trip is made safely,
and the highest quality work is done in the shipyard. As we move forward our
team’s bench will grow deeper.
the meantime, we will shortly begin our marine survey, which will provide
critical information to prepare for the eventual move. Now, you may wonder if I
am saying it could be a few years before we move the Battleship TEXAS for
repairs, it will not. But again, I tell you we will go when we have everything
in place to ensure a successful move, repair, and return of TEXAS.
regards to the final home for TEXAS I am happy to tell you that discussions are
heating up. However, once again it is important to remember that this is a
process that is highly competitive so as soon as we know we will make that
This project brings to light just how much people care about her and how they are interested in her survival. That is so great to witness. I would like to stress, however, to please be careful what information you see and believe. This love brings a few folks to the surface that while they have great love for her, they have no direct connection to the actual planning or execution of what will take place. My advice is to continue to look for our updates for the most solid information. For the record you can find that information on our website at www.battleshiptexas.org. The only Facebook page associated with the ship the Battleship Texas Foundation page. Any other FB pages such as Save The Battleship Texas are not ours.
you all for your desire to see us open TEXAS back up to the public and provide
a few more opportunities for folks to visit. It is our desire to make that
happen and we are doing our best to try and pull that off. If it is possible,
we will communicate that information out, so please keep checking back on our
TPWD continues to work very hard to remove artifacts off the ship for storage
to ensure their safety.
always need volunteers on the Battleship so if this is something you have ever
considered, I would ask you to let us know and we will get you connected with
the appropriate person to make that happen.
the meantime, stay tuned and will have more information going forward.
Always interesting to read your thoughts from the
emails you send us along with your social media posts. What struck me this week
was the overwhelming support you have for what we are doing to save the Battleship
There were two things I saw this week that I should
clear up for you. There still seems to be a lot of you that somehow think we
are headed to Sea Wolf Park with the Battleship. I’m not sure where you get
your information, but you could save yourself a lot of heartburn if you check
with us first. To be clear, we have been offered Sea Wolf Park as a location
and we have said no. Sea Wolf Park has several issues that make it a poor
choice for the Battleship. Chief among those is the current attendance of the
two vessels currently located there. They only get about 40-50,000 paid
visitors, which makes Sea Wolf Park unworkable for TEXAS. Bottom line is this,
Sea Wolf Park does not meet the ship’s needs.
The other question that I saw last week was this. What
if the new location does not produce enough paid visitation? Well that would be
a problem. It is the same issue that we are trying to solve with our current
location at San Jacinto State Historic Site. You will notice, and I have said
time and again, the new location may be the most critical decision we face.
What we do know is that the current location has years of history that has
proven it does not meet the attendance objectives for what is required to
maintain Battleship TEXAS . Currently, we are answering inquiries from six
potential locations. I cannot discuss these locations at this time for a number
of reasons. Very soon we will put out a request for proposals so that potential
host locations can submit their best case and we can have an analytical way of
choosing the best location for the Battleship. This is a very competitive
process and we need to protect communications until a final decision is made.
We had a productive week as we continue to plan for TEXAS’s
movement to the shipyard where the hull restoration will take place. However,
we still have engineering work to finish before we will be prepared to make a
final decision. The good news is we have a great deal of interest with a number
of possible yards that are being considered. Again, if you are reading anything
right now, from any source, that says the ship is going here or there that
information is untrue. We don’t know where TEXAS will go yet, so neither does
The final question that we get a lot is, when the
Battleship TEXAS starts to be moved will I be able to attend. This is a great
question. For sure we understand why people would like to attend. I wish we
could answer that question however, the Battleship Texas Foundation will not be
making this decision by ourselves. Texas Parks and Wildlife, as well as, the
Texas Historical Commission will be involved in making that determination. So,
be aware that we will make every effort to allow people to view this historical
moment if possible.
Last thing this week is this. I do not communicate via
Face Book. If you have questions or comments you shout submit them to email@example.com.
Travis, Kandace, and I all look at those emails. We will respond to you or if
it is a common question then I will answer it here next week.
Thanks for dropping by this week.
Bruce Bramlett, Executive Director
Battleship Texas Foundation
So, glad that you chose to drop by for an update on Texas. Since you all have different ideas of what is going on let me first do a quick review. In February 2019 The Foundation along with our engineers met with The Governor’s staff, TPWD leadership, and 4 Texas State Senators. The purpose of our visit had one goal in mind. To offer a solution to save Texas that could be funded and successful. Prior to that meeting there were only two options that had been under consideration for years. One, build a permanent dry berth in her current location or two, look at the very real possibility of having to scrap Texas. Frankly, option one, the dry berth just became too expensive. The reason I know that is because every time we tried to convince the state to fund the dry berth, we were told no. In fact, we were told in the February meeting that there was no appetite left for putting any more money into Texas. While the dry berth idea had many good ideas, in the end if there was no way to pay for it, and there wasn’t a way to pay for it, then it was not the solution. The second option was basically a decision that would eventually result in the scrapping of Texas. Estimates to scrap her were in the neighborhood of thirty million dollars. It is an option that just could not be allowed to occur. In February the Foundation along with our engineers presented a plan to move Texas, and yes it can be safely moved, to a location where we could replace the hull. There are many things we hope to do as well. These include replacing the deck and painting the ship.
In that February meeting and in order to get someone
to sponsor this solution formally, we were told that the engineering must work,
it does. The intent of the Foundation was to gain funding for a plan that would
not be as expensive as the dry berth but, would ensure that the ship was
preserved and did not end her life in the scrap heap. We did and the plan does.
To be clear, funding was the sole purpose of our
efforts. However, TPWD suggested that the operation of Texas might be better
served if the operations were turned over to a private not for profit
organization. The thought from TPWD and others was there was already a model
for this possibility. The State had done this before with The Texas Railroad
and the Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg. It was suggested that The
Battleship Texas Foundation consider taking over operations. We have agreed to
do so. The other condition was that Texas would be better served if were to be
moved to a location that would allow for much higher paid visitation.
Many will believe that Texas should be returned to current
location. That her history is at San Jacinto. We understand this position, but
the truth is, Texas and her history comes from places like Normandy, North
Africa, Cherbourg, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.
Many will say it should not be about money and visitation.
I only wish that you were correct. Right or wrong, Texas simply has to be in
condition and in a location that provides the best opportunity for her to be
self-sustaining. That ability is totally dependent on being able to attract
enough visitors to make her financially viable.
Let me sum this up so we can move on to other news.
We have a plan to move Texas and rehabilitate her.
She will be moved from San Jacinto State Park.
She will be placed in a new home that will provide the
best possible opportunity to be successful.
Since February Senate Bill 1511 was passed in the 2019
legislative session. This bill provided for TPWD to lease Texas to The
Battleship Texas Foundation for 99 years. Ownership of Texas will remain with
The State of Texas. This agreement, known as a MOU, has been written and signed
by both TPWD and BTF.
Funding for the requested $35 million was approved in
separate legislation with those funds coming from the states “rainy day fund.”
To date we have not used any of those funds, but very
soon we will begin to use those funds to execute the plan. You may also like to
know that the final vote to move operations to BTF passed out of the State
Senate on a vote of 30-0. It was also passed out of the Texas House on a vote of
In June The Governor signed the legislation.
Where are we today, glad you ask.
As I previously stated, the MOU has been signed. The
original plan was to pass operations from TPWD to BTF on October 5th of this year. That date has been changed to November.
Detailed Engineering is moving forward.
Possible locations for the best place to perform the
repairs and best way to move Texas for rehabilitation are still being
Let me add a note here before I move on. Until the
Governor signed the bill, which he did in June and until we had a signed MOU,
that happened three weeks ago, we were limited to how far and fast we could go.
In the beginning many people said we were moving too fast. Now, we have many
who think we are moving too slow. Be that is may, we will move at whatever pace
is required to be successful.
Here is what I can tell you today. We have many
options on places to do the repairs and the best way to move Texas. Please
listen closely, success and safety will not be driven by any other forces
except these. We have not decided where to move Texas. Once we have made that
decision, we will certainly make that information public.
Many want to know where the new home will be. Here is
what I can share with you. We do not know. We have many locations that are
interested. We will do our proper due diligence to arrive at the very best
decision possible. Again, once BTF makes that decision we will make that
Many would like to know when will Texas be moved. We
do not know but hope and believe that will her transport will happen later this
year or in early 2020.
Many people have expressed an interest in being in the
park when she does move. Again, we understand that desire. The determination,
of the possibility of the public being allowed in the park that day, will
involve many organizations input. We will let you know once that determination
has been made.
In conclusion let me add these thoughts.
The goal at the end of the day is to save The Texas.
There will be many with strong opinions as to we should go about doing that.
Great thing about the times we live in is that it is easy to share those
thoughts. My counsel to you it be wary of where you look for factual
Just a short list of the kinds of things I get told,
catch this, not ask but told.
I understand that Texas is being given to The State of
Alabama. I get this from media people and individuals. Of course, this is not
true I tell them. Do you really think that The State of Texas is going to spend
all this money and then give Texas to another state., I ask them? Of course
not, I tell them.
Or, someone calls and tells me that Texas is going to
this location or that location for repairs. I find these comments ironic given
the fact that I do not know that information so how could you. Short answer,
they don’t, because those decisions have not been made yet.
In the end The Battleship Texas Foundation, with State
of Texas oversite, is responsible for the planning and execution of the plan to
rehabilitate Texas. It is a responsibility we take very seriously.
See you next week.
Bruce Bramlett, Executive Director
Battleship Texas Foundation Update 9/27/2019
Let me start off by thanking all of you that love The Texas and want to see her survive.
At this tab, I will share what is going on and provide a status update for you to follow. We will also attempt to share the same information on our Facebook page. For the record I suggest you use our Facebook, Battleship Texas Foundation page and our website as your official places to look for the most up to date information. We do not control nor will we be posting information to any other site. For you this means be diligent about where you seek information. Let me add that many of you like to use messenger to try an communicate with me. That approach will not be very successful as I seldom have time to look at those messages. You will find that you have more success if you simply email us firstname.lastname@example.org. We will make every effort to have the first update available next week. Come and Save it.