NOW ON EXHIBIT
From the Banks of the Sabine to the Rio Grande: A US Naval Presence since 1845
On June 16, 1845 Texas officially accepted the United States offer of Annexation. Due to rumblings of disapproval by Mexico, President James K. Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to organize an army in the Corpus Christi area. Upon landing at St. Joseph’s Island, General Taylor would plant the United States flag on the beach. This was the first time a United States flag was flown on Texas soil. Commodore David Conner was placed in charge of the Gulf Squadron, thus marking the United States Navy entry into Texas history, the beginning of a relationship over 160 years old.
During the Civil War, the U.S. Navy took an active role along the Texas Coast through blockading. Liberty ships for transport would be constructed at Heldenfels Shipyard, Rockport, during World War I. World War II witnessed the pinnacle of U.S. Navy involvement on the coast as several coastal gun emplacements were utilized, subchasers were constructed, and Naval Aviators were trained at bases along the Coastal Bend. During the 1980’s Naval Station Ingleside was constructed and the Mine Warfare Training Center was established. Due to cutbacks this base would close under BRAC (Base Re-Alignment Commission) recommendations. The Navy’s presence is still strong on the coast with Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, and Naval Air Station Kingsville continuing their tradition of training Naval Aviators.