Lloyd Howard Texas City Disaster & Ward Island Naval Air Technical Training Center Photographs and Other Materials
- Howard, Lloyd (Person)
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The Texas City Disaster was the deadliest industrial accident in United States history as well as one of history’s largest non-nuclear explosions. The SS Grandcamp was docked at the port when it caught fire, detonating 2200 pounds of ammonium nitrate, and setting off a chain reaction of explosions from other ships carrying explosive materials and oil and chemical storage facilities in the bay area. At least 581 people were killed, and many of their remains were never recovered due to the intensity of the explosion and their proximity to the blast. The explosion destroyed nearly 1,000 buildings. Ten miles away half of the buildings in Galveston had their windows shattered. The Grandcamp’s two-ton anchor was found more than a mile and a half from the site of the explosion in a ten-foot impact crater. Twenty-seven of the twenty-eight men team of Texas City fire department volunteers were killed in the initial explosion and all four of their fire engines were destroyed, making the fires rage and continue to consume the city.
The Ward Island Naval Air Technical Training Center located near Corpus Christi was a Navy base that provided electronics maintenance during World War II. The Navy bought the island in 1942 shortly after the United States declared war on the Axis Powers and began constructing the training center. The first class of 106 students graduated in September of the same year. So much American Navel equipment was soon being used by the Allied Powers that the classes were also opened up to the British Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force. The training center was shut down and relocated in the fall of 1947. In November of that year it became the site of The University of Corpus Christi, the progenitor of Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, which occupies Ward Island today.
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- Lloyd Howard Texas City Disaster & Ward Island Naval Air Technical Training Center Photographs and Other Materials
- Eric Christensen
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Part of the Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Repository
6300 Ocean Dr.
Corpus Christi TX 78412 United States