visited June, 2001
USS Cavalla (SS-244) DANFS
USS Stewart (DE-238)
Seawolf Park is home to one of World War II's most famous submarines - USS Cavalla, which holds the rare honor of sinking a Japanese capital ship. On June 19, 1944, the Cavalla encountered the Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku and scored with at least three torpedoes, ending the career of the Pearl Harbor and Coral Sea veteran. Just to see such a famous sub - much less board her - was worth the detour from Houston on my way to Corpus Christi.
Today, the Cavalla rides in Texas soil, carrying out a mission honoring USS Seawolf (SS-197), overdue and presumed lost late in 1944. The Cavalla is currently the focal point of an effort to rehabilitate and restore the park (see links below). I found the Cavalla and Stewart escorted by mosquitoes the size of 16" shells, and just as explosive. Granting that I visited the park two weeks after Tropical Storm Allison wreaked havoc on the Texas coast and the mosquito problem escalated to epidemic levels, I strongly recommend having a can of Deep Woods Off! in the car.
The Stewart lies close behind the Cavalla. The Stewart served in the Atlantic Fleet in World War II, and is one of only two known surviving destroyer escorts and is worthy of attention as such. The Stewart is scheduled to receive needed restoration and rehabilitation, perhaps starting in 2002. Both ships can be reached by a causeway off Galveston Island - have a map along. You'll leave signs of civilization well behind before you reach the entrance to the park. No visit to the Galveston/Houston area would be complete without saying hello to these famous heroes of World War II.
(click on thumbnails to show the larger image)
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