The Battleship Texas, the sole remaining battleship to service in both world wars, set sail Wednesday for the first time in 32 years to undergo millions of dollars’ worth of repairs, according to the Battleship Texas Foundation.
People in Texas saw the massive warship sail away from the San Jacinto Battleground in La Porte early on Wednesday morning. In anticipation of the ship’s voyage down the Houston Ship Channel to Galveston Bay, where it will get $35 million in repairs, crowds gathered at various points along the route.
“We’re to the point where if we didn’t interfere and if we didn’t do something, the ship’s days are basically over,” Bruce Bramlett, chief operating officer of the Battleship Texas Foundation, told FOX Houston.
TV stations in Texas and other media outlets around the world broadcasted the historic departure live online.
“At her commission, she was the number one battleship weapon in the world,” Tony Gregory, president and CEO of the Battleship Texas Foundation, told the Houston Chronicle.
The sole remaining dreadnought, once the world’s most formidable weapon, is now frail and requires constant maintenance due to leaks. The ship, accompanied by tugboats, made the 40-mile voyage to Galveston, blocking traffic at one of the United States’ busiest ports, Port Houston.
Although the transfer was dangerous, it went better than planned.
“We had a perfect launch,” Gregory told the Houston Chronicle. “If she was going to have a problem, it was going to happen in the first 15 minutes.”
The Texas will remain in Galveston for modifications that are projected to take a year and a half.
According to the Houston newspaper, the USS Texas was commissioned in 1914 and was put to duty escorting goods to Europe and protecting it from the Germans. During WWII, the Texas defended amphibious troop landings in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific.
After being taken out of service in 1946, Texas received the ship as a gift in 1948. The building is now a museum.