USS Texas BB-35 (1914-1948)
The USS Texas, Battleship Number 35, was commissioned in March 1914. Within a few short months of completion, she launched from Newport News, Virginia, to Vera Cruz, Mexico to support the U.S. in the occupation efforts occurring at that time. The 27,000-ton ship was actively utilized in WWI and WWII for defensive measures. She also served as a training vessel for Navy personnel and transported many troops across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Action in World War I
From her first assignment in Vera Cruz, she joined the Grand Fleet in regular operations of Neutrality Patrol in the North Sea area and remained in that region until the end of WWI. In December 1918, the battleship returned to the U.S. for a short time and then journeyed back to the North Sea region.The battleship relocated to the Pacific Fleet and was designated BB-35 in 1919 and 1920 respectively. In 1924, she returned to the Atlantic Fleet as a training vessel. Upgraded with new oil-fired boilers and other improvements in 1925, she continued service between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans until 1931. The Texas was repositioned to her base in California and remained there for the next six years.
Action in World War II
The ship stayed active prior to WWII as a training platform for Navy officers and service men. With the onset of WWII in September 1939, the Texas joined other Atlantic Squadron ships. She provided defensive measures using the 14 and 5-inch caliber gunnery onboard at the invasion of North Africa. The Texas continued to transport soldiers during the Normandy landings and again she provided artillery gunfire on German held positions. She was hit twice by enemy fire when joining with other ships in the attacks on Cherbourg France. Later her artillery was used to support landings in South France.The Texas returned to the battle zone to play a part in the Iwo Jima invasion; operating off the coast of Okinawa. There she was instrumental in fighting off suicide air attacks. When the war ended in 1945, the battleship was used to transport troops back to the U.S. She was classified out-of-commission in April 1948.
After the War
Today the USS Texas or Battleship Texas is reconditioned and stands in port at San Jacinto Memorial Park located near Houston Texas. The ship is accessible to the public for a small admission fee.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet throughout conflicts during the last century, battleships also posed a lasting health risk to soldiers who served on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common on these ships because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.References: