Starting its life as an attack transport in World War II—and one of the last five left afloat by war’s end—the USS Queens saw action at Iwo Jima and other hot spots in the Pacific theater. After the war, the ship became the SS Excambion, one of the “Four Aces” of American Export Lines: the only fully air-conditioned ships in the world at the time.
In 1965, the versatile Excambion underwent yet another transformation—into a floating classroom. Recommissioned as the USTS Texas Clipper, the ship began a third life as a merchant marine training vessel with its home port in Galveston. For the next three decades the Texas Clipper would be home to merchant marine cadets, and by the time it was retired in 1996, it was the oldest active ship in the U.S. merchant marine fleet. Finally, the Texas Clipper, after protracted bureaucratic wrangling, was designated to be sunk in the Gulf of Mexico as an artificial reef to provide habitat for marine life. In 2007, the ship was towed to its final resting place, seventeen nautical miles off the coast of South Padre Island. Now, 136 feet below the surface, the venerable Texas Clipper lives on as the home to a wide variety of underwater species.
Filled not only with meticulously researched technical and historical data about the ship’s construction, service record, crew procedures, and voyages, The Ship That Would Not Die also features lively anecdotes from crew members, passengers, and officers. More than 140 color and black-and-white photos illustrate the ship’s construction, its wide variety of shipboard life, the exacting process of making the Texas Clipper ready to become an artificial reef, and its final sinking in the Gulf of Mexico.
What Readers Are Saying:
"This remarkable ship demonstrates not only an individual dramatic and varied maritime history, but mirrors the twists and turns of the U.S. maritime history of the period as well.... a marvelous story worthy of the telling."--Patricia Bixel, Associate Professor of History, Chair, Department of Arts and Sciences, Maine Maritime Academy
"Filled not only with meticulously researched technical and historical data about the ship's construction, service record, crew procedures, and voyages, The Ship That Would Not Die also features lively anecdotes from crew members, passengers, and officers."--Southwestern Historical Quarterly
"The author has done an admirable job of providing an excellent narrative of a vessel that over the decades became a good example of the American enterprise at sea in war and peace."
--Edward J. Sheehy, Naval History
"A meticulously written and researched account... Each facet of the ship's life is masterfully documented in both a technical and common parlance. Curley provides a rich and detailed context that places the reader directly on board the vessel... [and] creates a virtual walk-through of the ship by his use of engaging text, well placed context points, and personal accounts that allow the reader to connect with the past crew and ship. To call this tome an "account" is an understatement. The technical information and staggering amount of information compiled in this book is impressive in and of itself. The true brilliance found throughout the pages of The Ship that Would Not Die are the narratives and details provided by pervious ship's crew and others who lives have been in one way or another connected to this machine. In complement with its anecdotes, Curley provides the reader with over a hundred photographs that are seamlessly woven thorughout the text.... Stephen Curley has captured the essense of the vessel known by hundreds of crewmembers, passengers, students, and divers that truly, as he concludes, 'encapsulates so much of America's dream.'" -- Benjamin Wells