USS CAVALLA SS-244
’Gift to help restore WWII-era naval vessels
GALVESTON — The Cavalla Historical Foundation has received a $1 million grant from the Burke Family Trust.
The gift will be used to complete the restoration of the World War II-era USS Cavalla, a submarine; and the USS Stewart, a destroyer escort, and to move forward with plans for a visitors center at the military complex in Seawolf Park.
Jim Burke, chairman of the Cavalla Historical Foundation, said his family decided to make the gift because of the importance of the two ships.
“These ships represent the only place in the United States where both a submarine and a destroyer escort that saw duty during World War II are on display,” he said. “The Cavalla is the only submarine of that era that sank an aircraft carrier, and the Stewart is one of only two destroyer escorts remaining in the U.S.”
Burke and his wife, Dian, established the Burke Charitable Trust in 1994 and previously have made contributions to the Cavalla Historical Foundation.
Burke was in the Naval ROTC program while he attended the University of Wisconsin, and joined the Navy as an ensign upon graduation. He served aboard three nuclear submarines — the USS Henry L. Stimson, the USS Bluefish and the USS Cavalla.
After eight years in the Navy, he left to attend Harvard Business School. He has been in business in California for many years.
“My family has noted my dedication to the restoration of these two ships and to a visitors center that will be a teaching tool,” he said. “There is so much that can be learned from these two ships — history, chemistry, biology, physics. Instruction can be customized to the age of any student, from elementary school through adults. We want to see Galveston and Houston support this project and make it a reality.”
The mission of the Cavalla Historical Foundation is committed to preserving the ships and promoting the legacy of those who served aboard American submarines and anti-submarine vessels.
“The complex at Seawolf Park offers many opportunities for expansion and development that can enhance the quality of life in Galveston and surrounding counties,” said Ernie Connor, president and CEO of the Cavalla Historical Foundation. “We are very grateful to the Burke Family Trust for providing the funding to allow us to move forward in the development of the complex to its full potential.”
The complex at Seawolf Park already has attracted military-related organizations to hold conventions and reunions in the Galveston area.
“We are acquiring additional artifacts, working on an outreach program, especially in the Galveston-Houston area, providing major restoration on both the Cavalla and the Stewart, and developing a stronger communications program,” said Connor.
+++ How to help Contributions are tax-deductible and can be made to: Cavalla Historical Foundation 2504 Church St. Galveston, TX 77550 For information: www.cavalla.org
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