USS Mount Hood AE-29 Hull Cleaning

On Wednesday, August 21, the USS Mount Hood was removed from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet and transported to Mare Island to receive a hull cleaning before making the long trek through the Panama Canal to be recycled in Texas. 

The USS Mount Hood, a Kilauea-class ammunition ship, was the second ship to be named after the Oregon volcano. Her hull was laid down in May 1967 by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Sparrows Point, Maryland and commissioned in 1971. Her homeport was Concord, California, a short distance from where her hull is being cleaned. 

She was decommissioned in Bremerton, Washington in 1999, and transferred to MARAD and placed in Suisun Bay shortly thereafter.  

USS Holland AS-32 Being Recycled

The USS Holland, the second Hunley class submarine tender, was removed from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet on Thursday, July 10, 2013. She was transported to Mare Island where her hull will be cleaned, by Mare Island Ship Yard, prior to her final journey to Brownsville, Texas to be recycled.  

For me this is a big moment, as USS Holland was the first ship I ever visited in Suisun Bay back in 2010. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to wander her corridors a few more time over the years, exploring the memories and artifacts left behind by the men and women who served aboard her. 

Docked at Mare Island Ship Yard, taken during twilight

Just before the workers arrived to begin work on the hull 

The bow of USS Holland in the Mare Island Ship Yard dry dock

USS Holland was built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Company in Mississippi and commissioned in 1963. Her mission was to service submarines, replenish food supply, fuel and weapons. She carried a machine shop and was capable of repairing any portion of a submarine. 

Her first major mission began in 1964 across the Atlantic Ocean in Rota, Spain where she took over for U.S.S. Proteus, restocking missiles and supplies to the Polaris Submarines.

During her thirty three years in service, USS Holland was recognized ten times for battle efficiency. 

She was decommissioned in 1996, while in Guam, and placed in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet shortly thereafter.  

Looking towards Mare Island, from Vallejo, at the dry dock 

The ship name has faded since being moored in the Fleet 

Read more about the USS Holland here.  

The End of the Sea Shadow Stealth Ship

The Sea Shadow is an experimental stealth ship built for the Navy in 1985 by the Lockheed Corporation for $50 million. She was built inside the Hughes Mining Barge which acted as a floating dry dock (and was eventually involved with Project Azorian, recovering a Soviet submarine from the ocean floor.)

Her purpose was to test naval vessel stealth technology to determine if radar-evading technology in aircraft was also possible in water. The experiment was a success, and used in secret for years until being exposed to the public until 1993, 
but the vessel was never reproduced. 

In 2006, the Sea Shadow and the Hughes Mining Barge were relocated to Suisun Bay and placed in the Mothball Fleet where they have been moored since. 

Yesterday, news broke that a Bay Area company purchased the Hughes Mining Barge at auction. They will preserve the barge and use it as a floating dry dock, however, the auction required the purchaser to destroy the Sea Shadow. 

Photos: Armament of the USS Iowa

These launchers aboard the USS Iowa fired the RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile. Each missile was just over 1,500lbs and had a range of between 64-85 nautical miles. A 360lb booster would propel the missile away from the ship, approximately 5 miles, then drop away.

Armored box launchers for the BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile aboard the USS Iowa glowing at night from ambient city lights. Each launcher carried 4 missiles and each Iowa class ship was outfitted with 8 canisters, which enabled her with the ability to fire off up to 32 missiles. 

USS Iowa Heads to Southern California

On Saturday, the USS Iowa (BB-61) will be towed from Richmond to her new home in Long Beach. She is the last Iowa Class battleship in existence to become a museum, which will thankfully preserve the ship that served in WWII, carried Roosevelt across the Atlantic in 1943 and suffered a turret exploring in 1989, killing 47 crew members. 

Much has changed since this image was taken of her in the Mothball Fleet in January 2010, but my feelings about her still remain the same. She is magnificent. 

The first time I set foot on her deck, I was immersed in the history, tragedy and beauty of this ship and though I am sad to see her leave the Bay Area, I am incredibly happy to see such a big part of our history preserved. 

U.S.S. Iowa BB-61: Benicia to Richmond


On Thursday October 27, 2011, USS Iowa was removed from the Suisun Bay Mothball Fleet and placed at the Port of Benicia, where she spent one night before beign transferred to Richmond. For the next three months, USS Iowa will undergo significant refurbishment before making the long journey to Berth 87 in Los Angeles where she will become an interactive museum.

The battle this ship has experienced since her decomissioning was politically based and spanned across the past ten years as she sat in Suisun Bay. There was always a push to turn the battleship into a museum in San Francisco, but the Board of Supervisors was against mooring a miliitary ship based on a "homophobic entity" within the confines of the city, which caused other organizations to raise money in the hopes to move the ship to another California dock. 

USS Iowa is the last of four remaining battleships of its kind and the last of the four to be turned into a museum. The 887 foot long USS Iowa, built in 1940, was the fastest ship in her class of battleship and the only ship of her class to have served in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. Her main battery consisted of nine 16"/50 Caliber Mark 7 guns which could fire 2,700lb shells approximately 20 miles. 

In 1989, during a gunnery excersise, an explosion occurred in the center gun room destroying Turret #2 and killing 47 sailors. 

The ship was decomissioned in 1990 and placed in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet short thereafter.

Port of Benicia

Leaving the Port of Benicia

Approaching the Carquinez Bridge

USS Iowa after passing under the Richmond Bridge

Nearing Berth 3 in Richmond

Tugboat pushes USS Iowa towards the pier

Aft guns

Arriving at Berth 3 in Richmond

Flying the US Flag in Richmond

Forward 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 guns

Portside guns, 5"/38 caliber twin turrets

Securing the mooring lines



WWII Veteran Joe served aboard USS Iowa during her first deployment in 1942. 


Photo: "Sea Shadow"

For the second time in a month, an article regarding the scrapping of the Sea Shadow has surfaced. Might it be the last attempt to find a non-profit to take the ship?

The Sea Shadow (IX-529) was an experimental stealth ship built for the U.S. Navy in 1984 by Lockheed Corporation, an American aerospace manufacturer. She was constructed in Redwood City, California inside the Hughes Mining Barge to conceal the project. The ship was used in secret to determine the effectivemes of stealth technology on naval vessels. In 1993 the project was publicly exposed.