USS Texas (BB-35), the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the U.S. state of Texas, is a New York-class battleship. The ship was launched on 18 May 1912 and commissioned on 12 March 1914.
Soon after her commissioning, Texas saw action in Mexican waters following the “Tampico Incident” and made numerous sorties into the North Sea during World War I. When the United States formally entered World War II in 1941, Texas escorted war convoys across the Atlantic, and later shelled Axis-held beaches for the North African campaign and the Normandy Landings before being transferred to the Pacific Theater late in 1944 to provide naval gunfire support during the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Texas was decommissioned in 1948, having earned a total of five battle stars for service in World War II, and is now a museum ship near Houston, Texas.
Among the world’s remaining battleships, Texas is notable for being the only remaining WW1 era dreadnought battleship, though she is not the oldest surviving battleship; Mikasa, a pre-dreadnought battleship ordered in 1898 by the Empire of Japan, and HMS Victory, launched 1765 (Nelson’s Flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar) are both older than Texas. She is also noteworthy for being one of only six remaining ships to have served in both World Wars.[A 1] Among US-built battleships, Texas is notable for her sizable number of firsts: the first US Navy vessel to house a permanently assigned contingent of US Marines, the first US battleship to mount anti-aircraft guns, the first US ship to control gunfire with directors and range-keepers (analog forerunners of today’s computers), the first US battleship to launch an aircraft, from a catapult on Turret 3, one of the first to receive the CXAM-1 version of CXAM production radar in the US Navy,[A 2] the first US battleship to become a permanent museum ship,[A 3] and the first battleship declared to be a US National Historic Landmark.[A 4]
Image courtesy of Cdr C. Stevens RNZNVR who recently visited the USS Texas.