The American Undersea Warfare Center at Seawolf Park contains both the WWII submarine USS Cavalla and the USS Stewart destroyer escort – and you can tour them both!
Submarines made up less than 2% of the U.S. Navy during the Second World War, yet sank over 30 percent of Japanese fleet – but the U.S. submarine fleet also suffered heavy losses. 52 submarines were lost in World War II, containing 3,506 men: the highest loss of any division of the U.S. military during that conflict. Seawolf Park is a living memorial to the submarines and veterans lost during World War II, and is named after one of the most famous subs lost during that era, very likely by friendly fire – the USS Seawolf.
The name causes some confusion for people, who think they’re going to see the USS Seawolf when, in fact, the submarine in the park is the USS Cavalla. The Cavalla may not be as famous as the USS Seawolf but she has her own tales to tell and be proud of, such as having been responsible for the sinking of one of the eight Japanese aircraft carriers sunk by U.S. submarines during WWII.
The USS Cavalla was launched November 14, 1943, commissioned in February of ’44, decommissioned in ’46, brought back into service in 1951, and transferred to the permanent possession of the Texas Submarine Veterans of WWII here at Seawolf Park by the U.S. Navy in January of 1971.
Next to the USS Cavalla in Seawolf Park is the USS Stewart (DE-238). Named after Rear Admiral Charles Stewart, commander of the historic USS Constitution, from 1813 to 1815, this historic destroyer escort started life as a “school ship,” training officers. During WWII, she took part in numerous North Atlantic convoy operations, then moved to Pearl Harbor in mid 1945 for use in conducting training exercises until the end of the war.
The USS Stewart was decommissioned late in ’45 and was donated to Seawolf Park in 1974. The USS Stewart is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Seawolf Park is a great place the spend the day with friends and family. There’s a three-story pavilion with a view of Galveston harbor, picnic sites, a playground area for the kiddos, and a lighted fishing pier. Tours of the ships are self-guided but there are usually volunteers on hand who can answer questions and direct you to points of interest.
American Undersea Warfare Center at Seawolf Park
Open sunrise to sunset (hours are seasonal) 7 days a week
Galveston, TX 77550