Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Seawolf Park Update

Here is an update on the situation at Seawolf Park regarding Hurricane Ike damage. It was written by Dick Hoffman, a USS Stewart volunteer and submitted to Jeff Porteous who received it via a USS Cod email blast:

To Our USS Stewart Friends and Volunteers –

I’ve been waiting till we had our quarterly meeting of the Cavalla Historical Foundation Board of Directors (last Saturday) to give you a more complete idea of where we are at Seawolf Park. As some of you know, I am a member of the Cavalla Board which has responsibility for restoration, maintenance and display of USS Cavalla and USS Stewart. The meeting was one of the best I’ve attended. Board Members were upbeat, optimistic and determined. I think you will find some of the highlights interesting and informative.

Please understand that these remarks are preliminary. They are not to be construed as "official" statements by either the Cavalla Board or the Parks Board of Galveston.

1. Status of Seawolf Park – At the risk of repeating myself, the Park’s facilities were pretty much wiped out. Except for being floated out of position, our ships were relatively unharmed, but the rest of the Park’s infrastructure was mostly damaged beyond repair or washed away. USS Cavalla is pretty much where she was, but is elevated some 4 to 5 feet. The bow of USS Stewart is close to where it was, but the stern is moved to port perhaps 20 feet. This leaves much of her up out of the ground, and she has about a 17 degree list to starboard.

2. Report from Galveston Parks Board – Because of our partnership with the Galveston Parks Board, one of its Board Members is also on our Board. From his remarks, I believe Seawolf Park has a pretty high priority for restoration. The Park is one of Galveston’s most popular. The message I heard is to get our Naval Display back in order ASAP. I hesitate to speculate on completion dates, but pressure is there for a speedy restoration of both the Park and our Naval Display.

3. Prospects for Cavalla and Stewart – Consensus now is that, with reasonable effort, our submarine problem is quite manageable. Probes have indicated that while settling back down, Cavalla “sucked” sand and dirt back under herself, and is resting on a safe base. The entry/exit steps will have to be rebuilt to accommodate the extra height. There is some water in the after torpedo room which is being removed currently. At least three firms have come forward with plans to reposition Stewart. Talks with these groups make us confident of success. One of the three has not yet stated its plan, but is expected to bring it forward this week. I will not talk about cost because bids are still being negotiated. Our Foundation will need significant sums from donors and volunteers to underwrite a program. Outreach is well underway, and our Board is confident a way will be found to go forward promptly.

An appeal by mail was made right after the storm featuring an “IKE RESTORATION” T-shirt. It has already stimulated donations in excess of $10,000. If you would like to make a contribution, please address it as follows:

IKE Restoration Campaign

c/o Cavalla Historical Foundation

2504 Church St.

Galveston, TX 77550

Without going into detail, I am convinced that “fixing” Stewart is entirely possible. A panel of three Board Members (I am one) has been established to evaluate and negotiate a solution and funding. The panel was urged to move quickly.

4. Other positive Board actions

· A new Website to include news of all of our activities is under construction

· Motion was passed to give “enthusiastic support” to the newly created Edsall Class DE Association and Reunions.

· A program has been instituted to enhance (greatly) our communication with the “outside world” (think PR). This is a matter that is near and dear to me, and I will be working to make it successful.

Again, let me thank all of you for your past interest and support for our project. Let me hear from you with ideas, suggestions or questions. I will continue to keep you informed of progress.


Dick Hoffman, USS Stewart Volunteer

Board Member, Cavalla Historical Foundation

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About Me

The first 'grown up' book Paul Crozier ever read was "War Fish" by George Grider. Since then he has spent most of his life researching the U.S. Submarine Force in WWII and USS Wahoo (SS-238) in particular.


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