Saturday, February 1, 2014

San Jacinto Battleground State Park, LaPorte, Texas - October - December 2014

IMG_2776Over the holidays we chose a workamping spot close to home so we could be with our kids and grandkids for the holidays.  Oh yea, we went to Mississippi to be with my Dad's family for Thanksgiving and do some deer hunting.  Since Fred wanted to stay in Texas this year and wanted to learn more about Texas so there was no better place to be than where Texas was born - San Jacinto Battleground.  We ended up getting two for one as the USS Texas Battleship is also docked at this Park.  We had a great place to setup the coach and the dogs got a nice yard to play in and even a place to run free.  The other park hosts came in about a month after we got there and they were all wonderful people.  We had such a great time with them and at the park that we decided to make it our holiday park for 2014 and booked ourselves back there in October 2014.

There is so much there that I will try to give an overview in a couple of post.  I think I will take the UUS Texas Battleship first as there is so much to the battlegrounds that it will take some consideration on how to best post it.

DSCN2864The USS Texas will be 100 years old in March of this year and is the second US Navy Ship to be named in honor of Texas. She was built in 1911,was launched on May 18, 1912 and was commission on March 12, 1914.  She is the only ship left that has served in both World War I and World War II.  She actually took a group of Marines to Vera Curz, Mexico during the Mexican Revolution in 1914 but since she did not see any action was not considered as have served. 

During WWI she joined the British Grand Fleet in escorting supplies ships in the North Sea.  She assisted in the escorting of President Woodrow Wilson to France for the peace conference. 

DSCN3154In 1919 she went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and a platform was installed across turret #2.  From this platform Cdr E.O. McDonnell files a Sopwith Camel biplane from the ship.  This was another first for her- she is the first battleship to ever have an airplane launch.

During WWII she served from 1939 to 1945.  She had been scheduled to be destroyed before the war but after Pearl Harbor she was reconditioned and updated with new armor, guns and was put back into service.  During the war she escorted many war convoys across the Atlantic, took part in the he North African campaign, and Normandy Landing.  During the North African campaign in November 1942, Walter Cronkite was aboard here.  In May 1944 just before the Normandy Invasion, President Eisenhower visited the ship.  June 25, 1944, while she was involved in the shelling of Cherbourg she took a direct hit.  This is the only time anyone died as a result of hit on the ship and that was the helmsman.  There were 13 others that were injured.  There was a second round that hit the ship that day that, luckily, was a dud.  That shell is still with the ship and is on displace for all to see.

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She was transferred to the the Pacific in the first for 1945 where she provided gunfire during the Battles of Iwo Jama and Okinawa. As the war ended she provided "Magic Carpet" ride to returning troops from the Pacific.

She was decommissioned in 1948 after having earned a total of five battle stars for her service in WWII.  She was brought to Texas where she became the first battleship to be a museum ship.

Since she was decommissioned she was dry-docked only once for repairs, but today she is very badly in need of these repairs again.  This time though, she cannot be pulled out and sent to a dry dock location for these repairs.  If you are interested in knowing more and/or assisting with the fund raising for repairs needed take a look at this website and you will find out the information you need - http://www.usstexasbb35.com/

While we were there Fred and I gave tours to school groups of the ship. 

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We truly enjoyed our time here and learned so much.  If you are a history buff you will also enjoy workamping here or even just visiting.  I can only touch on the information and history that is associated with this ship.  I highly recommend you visit!!  You can also visit and like her to learn more and see some great pictures of her time in service from actual sailor at her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/USSTEXASBB35.