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“Nose” Of The BEAR Appeal

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 by

Bow section of former DEL ORLEANS, USS CRESCENT CITY, GOLDEN BEAR at Brownsville awaiting salvation. Photo courtesy of Charles Jennings.

As workers demolish the 1940-built PACIFIC STAR (ex DEL ORLEANS, USS CRESCENT CITY, GOLDEN BEAR, ARTSHIP) at the ESCO Shipyard in Brownsville, Texas, Oakland, California-based Charles Jennings has launched a noble campaign to save the tip of the bow of this extremely historic ship but needs help from the likes of fellow enthusiasts to find a home for it. Here is his open appeal to the community of shiplovers around the world:

“My fellow Mariners,

I am writing in regards to the TS Golden Bear II/USS Crescent City that is currently being scrapped in Brownsville Texas. Upon the scrapping of this vessel, she will be the last of her kind in many ways. It is my hope that with your help we will be able to preserve a small piece of her, paying homage to the merchant mariners and the ship that served our country proudly during WWII.

While the ship cannot be saved, preserving a small piece of her bow would be a fitting tribute to her generation, those who served on her and American ingenuity. By saving this small piece today, a new generation will be able to see, touch and literally stand on the deck of this historic vessel in the exact same spot where countless sailors stood their watch.

This is a chance for generations of WWII veterans, California Maritime alumni, USN and their families to stand together on deck while both being inspired and reminiscing about a proud bygone era of American shipping history.

Over the past few months I have been working with ESCO Marine in Brownsville Texas and they have graciously worked to help in this important feat by cutting and saving the bow section of the ship and offering to save it as long as they can (see photo). ESCO has gone above and beyond in this service and is to be commended for their willingness to help preserve this piece and donate it to an educational institution, museum, or sale of this piece to a maritime enthusiast. While a museum is the ideal home for her, any home but the cutting torch is to be considered. But time is running out. I have contacted the California Maritime Academy and several museums and all have turned down the offer.

I am now turning to you for help. Do you know of a museum or entity that may be willing to save her? Even by sending this letter to persons that may be of interest may help. Please do not contact ESCO Marine or the California Maritime Academy at this time unless you have some serious pull at the Maritime Academy or are willing to purchase this fine piece of maritime history. If you have any suggestions or are willing to contact museums on your own, please feel free to do so. Once you have secured interest in the bow please contact me with your findings or connections. I will then be happy to pass on all pertinent information. This is now a team effort my friends, and time is running out.
About the Ship:   There are very few ships today that have served this country as she has. While briefly outfitted as the Passenger/Cargo ship “Del Orleans”, she soon was requisitioned by the US NAVY during WWII and renamed “USS CRESENT CITY”. She went on to serve in all the major theaters of war in the Pacific, earning ten battle stars for her WWII service. During this time, she was also used to treat injured and dying American soldiers as a hospital ship in
Okinawa.

She was the last surviving ship from the battle for Guadalcanal. During the battle of Guadalcanal torpedo planes and dive-bombers attacked her. Rear Adm. Daniel Callaghan was killed in one of those battles as he stood on the bridge of the cruiser San Francisco, which was protecting the Crescent City at the time. That battered bridge wing now sits at Lands End in San Francisco, a memorial to the admiral and other men lost during the war.

She later served her country and countless cadets for 24 years as the educational platform TS Golden Bear II, a training ship at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo California.

As you will recognize the significance of this ship both in terms of WWII history and its direct connection to the Maritime Academy makes the this call to action even more urgent!

Call to Action: I am looking for those of you that can make this happen. This is an invitation for you to get involved in the process by contacting potential museums and/or collectors who might be interested in helping preserve this part of the ship. If you have a museum or entity that is interested, please contact them ASAP.

Please feel free to contact me at Charles@bayvoyager.com if you have specific questions.

Sincerely,

Charles Jennings
”

15 Responses to “Nose” Of The BEAR Appeal

  1. Peter Knego

    April 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Incredibly noble effort on your part, Charles. I hope all your time and energy invested can secure a safe place for this remnant of a very special ship. How disappointing that the CMA has no interest. It would be so nice to see on their waterfront. I wonder if it is a lack of funding or lack or imagination on their part?

    Peter

  2. Capt. John Haw

    April 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Have you spoken to the American Merchant Marine Museum at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point?
    http://www.museumsusa.org/museums/info/1154915

  3. Mark Mathews (USN) Retired

    April 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Truly sad; since the CMA was absorbed into the festering and open sore which IS my states’ higher education system, I fear their quality has already suffered, and I wouldnt be suprised to see it sink even lower. A true pity indeed. I would have thought the city of vallejo might consider it, but they are too concerned about smoke shops and marijuana dispensaries. Another blue city gone to you know where.

  4. Charles jennings

    April 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I have tried the Merchant Marine Academy but they were not interested. Please don’t be shy to make calls
    On your own. Perhaps if some museums get more calls about it, they will think twice. The best museum would
    Be in New Orleans at the National WWII museum, they are after all the Crescent City!

  5. Kenneth Eden

    April 4, 2012 at 6:05 am

    I think Peter brought up two valid points: lack of funding or lack of imagination.

    Funding can always be found for most things, and imagination can brew from the hopes of such funding.

    I will add a third option: They could care less.

    I applaude charles and his efforts, hopefully not in vane.

  6. Mark Mathews (USN) Retired

    April 4, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Does anyone have a rough estimate (with inflation included) how much funding would be needed just to move this to the Vallejo area from its current position?

  7. Andrew

    April 4, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Here is the elephant in the room: how much? If this were a freebie, the answer would be simple: just arrange for someplace local to store the bow until a suitable home could be found. There are likely more than a few enthusiasts in the Brownsville area who would store this thing temporarily.

    Is the 19,500 figure that is spray painted on the side the asking price? If so, good luck. That strikes me as rather high.

  8. Jeremy Petru

    April 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I think it would look amazing at CMA. There are plenty of spots to put it. I am currently a cadet at CMA, who did you talk to there? Any idea what cost of shipping would be? and is there a cost on the bow itself? Please feel free to email me about this. JPetru@CSUM.edu.

  9. Brian

    April 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I too am currently a CMA cadet and I’m surprised the school doesn’t want it. I would love to see a piece of history like this on campus. I do understand the “cost” factor, but how much are we actually talking about?

  10. charles jennings

    April 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Friends,
    The 19500 you see on the side of the bow is the weight. The cost of shipping is estimated to be between $5000-$10,000 to the Maritime Academy in Vallejo. With that said, if the Academy does accept the piece I am sure there is a shipping company that would either donate transport on one of their own vessels or donate funds to have it transported. Even if this is all done, there will be funds that are needed to be raised for her restoration, I am guessing, in the $10,000 – $15,000 range to have everything completed on her and have her ready for the public. The good news is there is an entire academy of cadets, alumni, officers and staff that are willing to pitch in. This is a realistic project. The good news is that it appears a picture is worth a thousand words and there are some at the academy that may reconsider the offer now that a photo has been produced. Even in her state, she is an object of beauty and inspiration. Now lets keep this moving forward and together we can see this through to a successful end.
    “Don’t give up the ship!”
    Charles

  11. James E. Therrault

    April 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    I would contact the curator of the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, TX.

    http://www.pacificwarmuseum.org/

    They do have large items in their collection.

  12. Dan

    April 5, 2012 at 12:37 am

    They were not willing to buy the ship before it left for Brownsville. Now the saga is for the nose of the vessel? I hope that this noble gesture comes true. I would hate to see the USS Olympia suffer this type of fate.

  13. Wayne

    April 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I think one of the concerns CMA has is how they will be able to keep this bow in good condition – if it does end up on the campus. Even if funds are raised and this “restoration project” becomes a reality, my gut feeling tells me something terrible will happen to it. Being a CMA graduate, I’ve witness a lot of irresponsible cadets purposely damaging items scattered around the campus.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see this on the CMA Waterfront, but I just don’t know if the future crop of cadets will appreciate it, and understand the history behind it.

  14. keenan

    April 6, 2012 at 2:18 am

    As a current CMA student, I would love to see this on campus!!!
    i just wish that someone had gone on the vessel and taken photos of all the old cruise murals…. id love the chance just to see my dads cruise mural. :P

    hopefully the bow finds a good loving home.

  15. Jon Kirchanski

    April 7, 2012 at 6:55 am

    They didn’t waste any time scrapping the vessel – how sad. All of the IOWA class battleships saved but it’s “too much trouble” to save a civilian liner that saw military service. I guess Chris Kyte’s AMERICAN QUEEN is going to be the last steam passenger vessel in the US – amazing.

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