At over 520 feet and 13,000 tons, this will be the largest ship ever intentionally sunk for this purpose. This ship will become a world-class diving and fishing destination, but it will also offer many other benefits to the environment and to education and research. Meticulously cleaned and prepared, the vessel will become a habitat and breeding site for countless marine species.
The ex-USAFS Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg has seen a long and varied history, commissioned twice and serving two services under two different names. Launched in 1944 as the troop transport USNS Gen. Harry Taylor, she served in the Pacific, and later as a “Magic Carpet” ship bringing troops home from the ETO. Taylor was the first ship back in New York after VJ Day. After the war, Taylor transported European refugees to new lives in the US and Australia. Many of those voyages departed from Bremerhaven, Germany and traveled to New York. Called to action again in 1957, the ship transported refugees from the valiant, though failed, Hungarian Revolution to Australia. In 1961, she was acquired by the US Air Force and completely re-fitted as a missile-tracking vessel, carrying the highest technology of the day. Newly commissioned in 1963 as Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, she served in the Cold War between the super powers and in early NASA programs.