With the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack taking place this month, travelers can commemorate this significant battle in world history by visiting Galveston’s American Undersea Warfare Center. The center, located at Seawolf Paark, is home to the USS Cavalla, a former U.S. Navy submarine best known for sinking the Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku, a veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack.
The USS Cavalla was the only submarine to have sunk one of the Pearl Harbor raiders. The 312-foot ship is open for tours daily, offering visitors the chance to see the period-accurate captain’s quarters and the ship’s office, featuring a late 1930s typewriter and other artifacts of the time. Because the Cavalla was in service for so long, visitors here can also witness technology advances that span three decades.
Built in 1943 and commissioned in 1944, the USS Cavalla sunk the 30,000-ton Shokaku on its maiden patrol during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. This feat earned it the Presidential Unit Citation. In 1971, the United States Navy transferred the possession of Cavalla to the Texas Submarine Veterans of World War II and it was then delivered to its permanent berth at Seawolf Park in Galveston.
“It is important that we remember the sacrifice of our submarine force during World War II,” Cavalla Historical Foundation President Dr. Kerry Crooks said. “Losing 52 boats and more than 3,500 men, out of a small elite division of highly trained sailors, speaks somberly of their courage and dedication. Submarine warfare was a hard, deadly and lonely duty.”
In addition to being open for tours daily, the Cavalla Historical Foundation will host a special memorial service and reenactment of Cavalla’s sinking of Shokaku at 12:30 p.m. on December 7 at the warfare center. The event is open to the public.
The American Undersea Warfare Center is also home to the USS Stewart, a WWII destroyer escort that is one of only three left in the world. For more information, visit www.americanunderseawarfarecenter.com.