CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Five short years since she was officially retired, the mighty USS City of Corpus Christi, a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine, is looking toward a future thousands of miles from where she now resides in Bremerton, Washington.
The local Corpus Christi Sea Turtle Base group is currently in talks with city leaders to bring the ship's huge 60-ton sail to the Coastal Bend for a magnificent memorial.
"It's to commemorate the sailors that are on eternal patrol," said Sea Turtle Base Commander Glenn MacDonald. "Plus, it's dedicated to the current sailors and all the military who are on active duty keeping us safe."
It may be the end-of-duty for the submarine, which traveled the world watching our waters for more than three decades, before her decommissioning, but it's only the beginning for MacDonald and other members of his group. They feel it's their obligation to bring the ship's sail home and display it along Ocean Drive. More specifically, Sherrill Veterans Memorial Park.
"This will happen, yes," a confident MacDonald said.
City officials recently met with MacDonald to raise issues and get answers concerning timing, location, financing, and maintenance of the sail monument project.
The group has actually been working on the monument for 10 years, but it's currently making plans with the US Navy to dismantle the sail (about as wide as a flatbed truck, and tall as a one-story home), and move her from Washington State to Corpus Christi by the end of 2023.
MacDonald joked about the possible site of the ship's sail -- pointing it right at the aircraft carrier USS Lexington, which rests in Corpus Christi Bay.
"Just a little submarine humor," laughs MacDonald. "That means it would be lined up to shoot a target."
MacDonald believes the current target date for the sail memorial could be, at the earliest, sometime in 2025, if the city grants approval.
"We want to make sure that if this does happen, that it happens the way that it needs to happen and it's responsible from a financial (standpoint) well as location," said city of Corpus Christi Asst. City Manager Andrea Gardner.
Gardner wants to make sure that all concerns are addressed before a final decision is made.
"You don't wanna block some of the views that the citizens enjoy and appreciate from Ocean Drive if it were to be located at Sherrill Veterans Memorial Park, so that's a big concern that we have,' said Gardner.
MacDonald remains steadfastly optimistic. So much so, that his group is now in the process of creating a non-profit group to raise the estimated $500,000 to move the pieces of the ship here and build and maintain the memorial.
While it waits on IRS approval, the group asks that you send donations to this address if you want to contribute to the memorial:
Sea Turtle Base
P.O. Box 60014
Corpus Christi, Texas 78466