The Dry Dock Period
13 December 1988 to 28 July 1990
I had the pleasure and privilege to be aboard for the tow from Todd's Shipyard, in Galveston to Green's Bayou. Also was aboard from Green's Bayou back to the San Jacinto Battle Ground. This was an experience that will never happen again
|Getting Ready For Dry Dock: 1 September 1983 to 13 December 1988|
|By 1983, TEXAS had deteriorated badly over the 35 years since being brought
to San Jacinto on 19 April 1948. The public area condition that visitors could
see was run down but it was the below-the-water-line deterioration that raised
alarm about the ship's survivability. Lower interior areas were full of water
and structural support in some areas had failed. The ship's administrators, The
Battleship TEXAS Commission, lacked the finances to maintain the ship. So it was
on 1 September 1983 that responsibility for BB35 was transferred to Texas Parks
and Wildlife Department.
Given the condition of the hull, it was imperative that BB35 be removed from the water to repair the damage. The method chosen was to move the ship to a dry dock. The bidding process included a submission from Tampico, Mexico.
The financial aspect of the needed hull-exterior work and berth improvements was enormous. Many groups were involved to come up with the money, which eventually totaled $14,000,000. Donated services saved hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Before TEXAS could be moved, structural work was needed.
The biggest task was pumping out 1.5 million gallons of fuel oil and water.
The after trim tank, which is below the Steering Room and Steering Gear Room had lost structural integrity and had to be reframed.
Welding in the Engine Room was done to restore water tight integrity between the two engine rooms.
Replacing gaskets on water-tight doors
Pumps were installed throughout to handing flooding during the tow to Todd’s.
In addition to the structural work, thousands of artifacts were inventoried and removed.
|Tow to Todd’s Shipyard: Galveston 13 December 1988|
| On 13 December (a cold morning), at 6am, tugboats began tying up to the stern and
pulled, but the ship did not budge. TEXAS was being held in her berth by 40
years of silt that had washed into the berth and pilled up around the hull.
Additional tugboats were brought in, till there were six tugs with 25,000hp
pulling on the lines and their propeller wash blowing away the silt from the
hull. During the pulling, one tug blew an engine and one tow line broke with the
sound a high powered hunting rifle firing. (I was there and saw-heard the line
break). By 1:13pm, the horse power pulling on the tow lines and propeller wash
finally pulled TEXAS from her berth and into the ship channel.
By the time TEXAS was turned in the ship channel for the tow south, flooding alarms, had already gone off. Because the rudder was frozen 14.5 degrees to starboard, one extra tugboat was need on the port side at the stern to counteract the rudder.
The 40 mile tow to Todd’s was to take 10 to 12 hours, at a maximum speed of 4 miles per hour. The tow speed though was increased and TEXAS arrived at Todd’s at 9:05pm. By the time TEXAS was being pushed into the Todd’s dry-dock, the clearance between the keel and the dry-dock blocks was 6 inches.
|BB35 passing by the EXXON refinery, in Baytown|
|Todd’s Shipyard, Galveston: 13 December 1988 to 23 February 1990|
|Dry Dock: 13 December 1988 to 6
This was the first time out of the water since Jan-Mar 1948. As the dry-dock lifted TEXAS out of water, she leaked like spaghetti sieve for water came out of the sides through numerous holes.
Upper Structure: 6 August 1989 to 23 February 1990: 6 August 1989, BB35 went back into the water and the main deck up to the tops of the masts were sandblasted and painted.
Leaving the shipyard on 23 February 1990, TEXAS was towed to Green's Bayou while the berth at the San Jacinto Battleground was being improved. The return to San Jacinto was 28 July 1990
|Repairing The Hull|
|More fluid removal|
|Before hull metal replacement could begin, 13,000 barrels (460,000 gallons) of additional oil and oily water had to be removed to purge flammable gasses. 1,500,000 gallons had been removed prior to the tow to Todd's|
|235,000 pounds of outer Hull metal replaced|
|where the metal was less than 3/8-inch thick. 10,000 ultrasonic soundings were taken to determine hull thickness.|
|Wash With Acid and Abrasive Blast|
|Before the hull was painted, a bath of phosphoric acid was applied to neutralize the 40 years of San Jacinto Ship Channel chlorides. The acid bath was followed by an abrasive blasting.|
|Propeller shaft opening on port is blanked off at the
hull, which was done in 1948.
Rudder has a 14.5 degree turn to starboard, which is the angle shown on the rudder angle indicator in the Steering Gear Room
|Volunteers were allowed one trip into the dry dock and I walked under the hull...........a really freaky feeling !!!.|
|Paint the Hull and Exterior|
|9,200 gallons of dark blue Measure 21 paint, the fifth and final WWII paint scheme was applied to the exterior from the tops of the masts down to the water-line. The color selected was dictated by the ship’s exterior configuration. From 14 September to 14 October 1944 the mainmast was significantly altered, making any scheme other than Measure 21 or Measure 33 incorrect. Measure 21 was the paint scheme during the 1945 invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.|
|Main Deck Upper Level Work|
|Concrete on main deck removed|
|The concrete poured in late 1968 - early 1969 on the main deck and the superstructure was removed. The metal deck below the concrete had rusted through in many areas and was replaced.|
|Missing splinter shields fabricated and installed|
|at the 94 anti-aircraft gun locations, except the two aft 40mm gun mounts, on the superstructure.|
|SK radar antenna|
|: Fabricated and installed on the mainmast.
The WWII antenna was destroyed during the 1961 Hurricane Carla
|Foremast Top and Anchor Chain|
|Three-tiered gunfire control structure atop the foremast was removed and sat on the dry-dock for structural repair.|
|Anchor chain was pulled from the chain locker and placed on the dry-dock floor for cleaning.|
|Looks like the ship is about to give birth ..........to a destroyer..!!|
|Green's Bayou: 23 February to 28 July 1990|
|When the work at Todd's was finished BB35 was move to Green's Bayou while the berth improvements at San Jacinto were being completed. Green's Bayou is about 8 miles west of the San Jacinto Battleground. While at Green's Bayou the following work was completed|
|Wood Deck Installed|
|26,660 square feet of 4inch x 4inchx 16foot yellow pine was used for the main deck and superstructure. The wooden deck cost $1,750,000.|
|Installed Most to 40mm mounts|
|Most of the 10 mounts of 40mm anti-aircraft machine cannons were brought aboard. While not the TEXAS mounts of World War Two, they are the correct types. The rest were installed when BB35 returned to San Jacinto|
|Installed most of the Mark 51 Gun Directors|
|Most of the 10 Mark 51 Gun Directors were brought aboard. The director was by which one sailor or marine could train, elevate and fire one 40mm gun mount. In 1945, even though 10 40mm mounts were aboard; there were 12 Mark 51 gun directors.|
|First Interior Space Restored|
|The Sick Bay being was as a donation by the wood deck contractor.|
|Return to San Jacinto: 28 July - 8 September 1990|
|28 July 1990 the ship returned to San Jacinto to an improved berth that was
widened and deepened. Mooring system of 4 monopiles on the starboard side that
were driven 70 feet into the bed of the the berth. To attach the connection
structures to the hull, holes were made through the hull The penetration brought
out bits of the hull wood which was still good wood.
The final work was completed, which included bringing aboard and securing the remaining 40mm gun mounts. Gun mount 8, port of the Crew's Galley had been on the MISSOURI. I was part of the gun crew that fastened down the mount. On the back side are two horizontal cylinders with a screw cap. When one of the caps was removed, US Navy papers were found documenting that the gun had been removed from MISSOURI.
Restoration of the interior spaces continued.
|Started 11 May 1999 by Chuck Moore, FTV (1st Texas Volunteers) a Battleship Texas volunteer group - Donate Your Time And Support The Battleship Texas|