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Galveston has so many cool things in its backyard that it’s easy to overlook some of them. One special place that deserves some special attention is Seawolf Park located on Pelican Island.
The park is home to the Galveston Naval Museum that oversees the U.S.S. Stewart, a destroyer escort, and the U.S.S. Cavalla submarine. Later this month, the Cavalla will celebrate the 75th anniversary of her commissioning by offering free admission to the Cavalla and Seawolf Park throughout the month of March.
The USS Cavalla is the only submarine to avenge the attack on Pearl Harbor when she sank the Japanese aircraft carrier, Shokaku, during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Nicknamed, “Lucky Lady,” the Cavalla is a Gato Class Submarine. She was commissioned for service on Feb. 29, 1944.
The Cavalla’s claim to her well-deserved fame came during her maiden patrol. She came across a large Japanese task force while on her way to the Philippines. The Cavalla tracked them for several hours and relayed coordinates to command.
On June 19, 1944, Cavalla officers shot six torpedoes at the Shokaku and landed three fatal hits, sinking the ship in minutes. Avenging the attack at Pearl Harbor earned the Cavalla a Presidential Unit Citation.
The Cavalla has been in Galveston for 48 years serving as a museum ship at Seawolf Park since 1971. The Galveston Naval Museum invites visitors to join in celebrating the mighty vessel, with special recognition honoring the brave service men and women who have and continue to serve the United States of America.
“The Galveston Naval Museum continues to make great strides for the stewardship of our brave navy vessels and our mission to preserve, remember and educate,” Galveston Naval Museum Board Director Urs Schmid said. “We take great pride in honoring those on ‘Eternal Patrol’."
Schmid said he encourages those who have not been to Seawolf Park recently – or ever – to consider a visit.
“Our organization has grown tremendously over the last several years due to the fine work of many volunteers, but particularly the leadership of the Cavalla Historical Foundation,” he said. “The museum has hired a new executive director, Master Chief Ross Garcia, who has shown a passion for the position. Thanks to his leadership, an energetic board, and an enthusiastic team of volunteers, the museum has made many updates and restorations to the ships themselves and their exhibits.”
For more information about the Galveston Naval Museum and the 75th anniversary of the U.S.S. Cavalla, visit www.galvestonnavalmuseum.com.
Park Board meetings are typically held on the fourth Tuesdays of the month at 1:30 p.m. at 601 23rd St.