USS Vandenberg

Sea (Salt water)
Wreck, Artificial Reef
25.5 m (avg)
42.7 m (max)
Diver Level
All Divers

History of the Ship

The USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg has a long and varied history of ownership. The ship was originally the USS General Harry Taylor, and served as a US Navy transport ship during World War II. The ship then briefly had the USAT designation serving as a US Army Transport ship.

In 1950 the ship was returned to service in the navy with a USNS designation until it was placed on reserve in 1958 and transferred to Air Force service in 1961. It was then that the ship acquired the Vandenberg name, USAFS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, after the US Air Force Chief of Staff.

From 1964 to retirement in 1983, the ship was once again in naval service with the moniker USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg. The ship's responsibilities were to monitor launches from both Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The ship changed hands after being struck from the Naval Register in 1993 through non-payment of some fees and eventually ended up in the hands of the city of Key West.

Second Largest Artificial Ship Reef in the World

The ship was sunk on May 27, 2009 and is the second largest artificial reef in the world after only the USS Oriskany near Pensacola, Florida.

The Artistic Side of the Vandenberg

The accessibility of the ship in the warm, clear waters of Key West has meant that there are some very clever videos and artistic works involving the ship. One of these is "Defending the Vandenberg", a very well done "chase scene" shot on the Vandenberg by freedivers.

From May 2012 to September 2012, the artist Andeas Franke is displaying the second edition of his 'underwater art exhibit' on the Vandenberg.

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