In spring of 2020, Battleship Texas Foundation staff removed the ship’s ten 3″/50 caliber guns, eight of ten quad 40 mm Bofors mounts, and all eight 20 mm Oerlikon guns with the assistance of Taylor Marine and Certified Pipe Services Houston. The guns were taken to an offsite warehouse provided by NRG, where staff and volunteers have been able to restore these guns on a component level. The equipment and services made available to us by many generous supporters, such as NRG, CPS Houston, Texas Bearing Services, Taylor Marine, and many others have made it possible for this work to be more thorough than ever before. Thanks to them, volunteers together have worked over 860 hours on this project in 2020 alone and have already passed 2,000 hours in 2021. Bravo Zulu to everyone involved!
Currently, the bulk of the work is on the 3″/50 caliber guns. While some maintenance was performed on these guns while they were on the ship, all are to the point that complete disassembly is required. When this project began, all ten 3″ guns’ breeches were seized shut, most of the guns could not rotate or elevate, and many smaller components had deteriorated beyond repair. Volunteers have already had success returning the breech mechanism to working order on four guns. We have also successfully unscrewed the gun carriage from the stand on one gun mount, revealing the 138 ball bearings the gun rotates on. With these bearings replaced, the guns will rotate smoother than ever.
Our 20 mm Oerlikon gun trailer is a popular guest for events all around the state. Volunteers man the trailer and touch tables for the general public and educate them about the history – and future – of Battleship Texas. Currently the trailer is being housed in Lone Star Flight Museum, who have graciously given us temporary exhibit space as well.
If you’ve seen us around the state, at events in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Galveston, College Station and many more then you know just how important this work is. Without keeping the public aware, engaged, and informed, Battleship Texas will always have an uphill battle to stay afloat.
We are looking for a limited number of additional volunteers to help man the gun trailer at Lone Star Flight Museum. If you’re interested in participating in educational outreach programs, fill out our volunteer application here.
Want the gun trailer or a touch table at your event? Send an email to email@example.com!
In 2020, Battleship Texas volunteers finished their last on board project until the ship reopens. Deep within the ship on 2nd platform – that’s four levels down from the main deck – are magazines for 3″ ammunition. When this project began, the magazine was empty and covered in rust and flaking lead based paint. After professional lead abatement, volunteers set up proper ventilation and painted the space from top to bottom, then began hauling 3″ ammo tubes down from main deck and filling the magazine.
With the space restored and furnished, we hope to make it accessible to the public on future guided tours. Many spaces onboard the ship are in need of this kind of work, which helps to better show her as she was in 1945, makes these spaces safer for visitors, and protects the ship from further degradation.
Bravo Zulu to everyone who worked on this project! If you’d like to work on projects like this in the future, fill out our volunteer application here.