Galveston Daily News
November 9, 1998
Veterans group to have rally in effort to save sub
By Steve Mayo
The Daily News

Published November 09, 1998 12:00 AM CST

GALVESTON -- A World War II memorial to more than 3,600 submariners killed in battle is crumbling. Neal Stevens and the Cavalla Task Force are sending out an SOS to save the USS Cavalla. The 55-year-old World War II submarine on display at Seawolf Park needs attention.

For starters, the concrete deck has to be removed to replace rusted support beams underneath, said Stevens, a USS Cavalla historian.

That's going to run between $100,000 to $150,000, Stevens said.

"That won't get everything done but we can do a solid repair job," he said.

Stevens said that through a USS Cavalla Web site, the group has raised about $5,000 to help pay for those repairs.

Stevens, along with parks board Chairman Raymond Lewis and the submarine's former executive officer, Capt. Zeb Alford, will be part of a rally Tuesday to raise the public's awareness of the submarine.

Seawolf Park Manager Joe Romero said he remembers school field trips to the submarine when he was a kid.

He said attendance has fallen off over years, though.

"We used have buses lined up in the parking lot," Romero said. "Now we have something like six school buses a year."

The objective is to remind people the submarine is here, Stevens said.

The USS Cavalla, which was installed at Seawolf Park in 1971, played a vital role in thwarting a secret mission aimed at stopping U.S. troops from landing on the Marianas Islands.

It also sank a Japanese aircraft carrier that was used in the attack at Pearl Harbor, Stevens said.

Because of projected operating losses, park board officials have been giving thought to closing the submarine, at least temporarily.

The submarine serves as a monument to the men killed in World War II, Stevens said. "If we lost it, that would be the first time I've ever heard of losing a memorial because of a lack of American interests."

That also would leave one submarine exhibit in the state, a two-man Japanese submarine at Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, he said.

Cavalla rally

  • What: A rally is scheduled to raise awareness of the USS Cavalla submarine. The World War II memorial is in need of at least $100,000 structural repair. USS Cavalla historian Neal Stevens said that if the USS Cavalla is lost, it would be the first time he's heard of a war memorial being removed because of a lack of interest. Losing the USS Cavalla also would leave one other submarine exhibit in the state, a two-man Japanese submarine at the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg.
  • When: 10 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Where: Seawolf Park.
  • To help: Contact the USS Cavalla Web site: