TEXAS NAVY 1836-1846


Texas was a republic for almost ten years before it joined the United States in 1845 as the 28nd state and a slave state.  As a new republic fighting Santa Anna as he advanced into Texas, a  Texas Navy was established to protect the coastline by keeping the lines of supply from New Orleans open and keep Mexican ships from delivering supplies to Santa Anna.  Those first four schooners, Invincible, Brutus, Liberty and Independence played an important part in the victory at San Jacinto but the navy’s role is not as well known as most of the glory went to the victories on land.

In March of this year a permanent exhibit honoring the Texas Navy opened on the USS Lexington Museum, a WW II aircraft carrier berthed at Corpus Christi. The ship serves as a naval aviation museum,  education facility and tourist attraction.   Recently I visited  after having lunch with Daughter who works on the Lexington.   The ship has five self-guided tours and offers guided tours for behind the scenes.  The Texas Navy exhibit is on the ” Lower Decks Tour”, tour number four.

NEON ENTRANCE TO EXHIBIT

Visitors are immediately drawn into the 1800s and a different kind of warfare and away from the WWII period.

WORKING SAILORS

These sailors seem to be welcoming you aboard; even the worn wooden flooring feels like the deck of a ship and much different from the metal and steel floors of a WWII ship.

Photos of these two story boards did not come out very well – Husband could have done better had he been along – but they do give information on the importance of the Texas Navy early on and later as it continued to protect the new republic.

BATTLE OF CAMPECHE 1843

NAVAL OFFICER

I don’t know what the white object is on the left.  Perhaps it was one of the rumored ghosts on the Lexington.  It was a weekday afternoon and not very crowded, so I often found myself alone to leisurely view the Texas exhibit and  WWII photos and documents also as I competed the Lower Decks Tour.  OK, it was probably  my finger that got in the way!

SHIP’S WHEEL

Take a turn at the ship’s wheel!

CANNONS AIMED AT MEXICAN SHIPS

Visitors can get the feel of being on a ship in the heat of battle with this replica of a warship; note the Mexican flag on the ship being fired upon.

NAVAL GEAR AND ARTIFACTS

There were several displays like this one.

TEXAS NAVY FLAG

This is the Texas Naval flag.  Texas Flag Park describes it this way:

Created by Charles Hawkins for the Texas Navy in April, 1836 the Lone Star and Stripes Flag was adopted and continued unchanged for the life of the Republic. It carried a single white star in the blue canton, and seven red stripes and six white stripes alternating in color. The stripes represented the original thirteen colonies of the U.S. The flag was deliberately designed to resemble the national flag of the U.S. When the flag hung limp, it could be mistaken for the American flag which gave the underdog Texan fleet the advantage of surprise, and it worked.

There is a small theater inside the exhibit, though I did not take a photo, with an excellent documentary,  How the Texas Navy Saved the Revolution, a Kahunas USA / Texas Navy Association historic documentary.  The film is available to all Texas teachers for free download at texasnavy.org under the “Teachers” button.

When Texas joined the Union the proud Texas Navy was absorbed into the United States Navy.  “Texas Navy 1836-1846” is an excellent addition to the WWII exhibits on the Lexington for anyone who is interested in Texas history.

 

 

 

FRIDAY FOTO: MONKS ON NORTH BEACH


Wednesday Son and I drove to North Beach to  see Daughter who works on the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay.  As I stopped at a stop sign, we looked up to see these monks walking single file and looking rather out of place amid the tourists.

  Where had they been?  Had they toured the Lex?  Were they going to visit the Texas State Aquarium next?  Son captured the moment with his phone.

PINK PLANE ON THE FLIGHT DECK!


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Sitting proudly on the flight deck of the USS Lexington is a plane that has gone pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness.   A press release described it this way.

“The USS Lexington is excited to announce the very first F9F-8 Cougar painted in pink. The F9F-8 Cougar will be displayed on the flight deck, for all to see, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.

For the first time in history, it will be showcased in the color “Heliconia”, a vibrant shade of pink. The idea was presented by the Director of Operations & Exhibits, Rusty Reustle, from a technique he observed Disney using while filming Pearl Harbor. Dishwashing liquid is applied to latex paint and prevents the paint from becoming permanent.  The F9F-8 Cougar is the swept wing version of its forerunner, the F9F Panther — Grumman’s first jet fighter plane. The Blue Angels flew with the F9F-8 and one –8T from 1955 to 1958. The USS Lexington chose a fighter plane in support of all who have fought and continue to fight the battle of cancer.”

(Scenes from the movie,” Pearl Harbor“- 2001, were filmed on the USS Lexington and starred Ben Affleck.)

pinkjet2016ABOVE:  Rocco Montesano, Executive Director; Rusty Restule, Director of Operations & Exhibits; Leon Root, Chief of Maintenance
BELOW:  USS Lexington Crew (employees) & Board Members

The jet will remain on display in pink through the month of October and then will be power washed back to its original color.  The USS Lexington rests in Corpus Christi Bay, just across the ship channel from downtown Corpus Christi, Texas.

(Here is a post from last year, “Boobs and Betty Bombers”, when I joined at team from the Lex to raise money for the American Cancer Society.)

TEXAS REMEMBERS VIETNAM


The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument was approved by the Texas legislature in 2005 to honor Texans who served in the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.  The 14-foot tall monument will be dedicated on the Capitol grounds in Austin on March 29, 2014.

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Replica of the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument

Currently a scale replica can be seen on the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay as part of the Texas Vietnam Heroes visiting exhibit.  The display also consists of 3,417 hand-embossed personalized dog tags representing the Texans who died while serving the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.

The interactive exhibition pays tribute to and educates the public about the sacrifices of Texans in Vietnam.  Each hero is remembered by name, rank, branch of service, home of record and date of his loss.  Black tags represent the Texans who are still Missing in Action. .

A set of identical dog tags will be entombed in the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument as part of the monument to honor all Texans who served in Vietnam.

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The Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit can be seen until March 24, 2014 on the USS Lexington Museum. Nicknamed “The Blue Ghost,” it is open daily and located on North Beach in Corpus Christi, Texas.  For more information go to www.usslexington.com.

The USS Lexington is a floating museum.

The USS Lexington is a floating museum.

For more information on the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument go to www.buildthemonument.org.

Here is a video from that website featuring Joe Galloway, author of “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young.”