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Did somebody lose an aircraft carrier?


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So my friend Paul and I were out geocaching yesterday, but since we were feeling kinda lazy, we were in the market for a low-impact caching experience. On our list was Minsy on the old Mare Island Naval ShipYard (now mostly decommissioned.)


We found the cache, but we were in no hurry get there, and while driving around looking at all the old abandoned military buildings and equipment, we saw an aircraft carrier between the buildings. The road down to the dock was open (no signs saying keep out or anything). So we drove down there. It looks like it was being gutted, since it was riding very high in the water, and there was a crane on the flight deck.. I assume to lift heavy pieces off the ship and put them on the dock. I took a picture, but the only identifying mark was a 10 on the island. I did some research, and at first I thought it might be the second Yorktown, but that theory died quickly when I discovered that my mystery carrier was much too small, looked nothing like it, and most of all, that the Yorktown is a flaoting museum in South Carolina.


I did a little more research, and found two small escort/light carriers which were loaned to Britian during the war under lend-lease, the HMS Chaser (CVE-10) and the HMS Rajah (D-10), but the photos published of the Chaser look nothing like this (no side-elevator, etc.) While online photographs of the Rajah looks vaguely like the one I photographed, it was returned to the US after the war, used in the mediterrenian under various names, and was sold for scrap in Spain in 1975.


So.. I can seem to track down which carrier this is. Does anybody have any ideas. I'm tempted to go out there again soon and see if I can find a name, or more clues.


-- Mitch

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Here is another photo of the ship that I found on Mapquest. It matches your picture better and does appear to be the same ship as the one in your other photo with the deck markings a bit clearer.


Good catch Neumann. Looking at some of the photos of the Tripoli on the web, it matches the satellite shots at Mare Island.


See additional info here.


"Operated as mine countermeasures support ship during Desert Storm. Hit mine 18 Feb 1991 with significant damage to starboard bow; repaired in the Gulf. Decommissioned and stricken 8 Sept 1995. Leased to US Army 27 June 1997 as a missile trials platform; currently moored at Mare Island awaiting conversion/use by the Army."


[This message was edited by chloew on June 24, 2002 at 01:04 PM.]

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All this very very cool research thru geocaching..


Man I really enjoy reading peoples posts....

This is again a unusual thread.. but from only a Satelite picture that can make up a number 10 on the deck of the boat.. a whole story of a battle ship comes alive..


on ths site the history of this ship is told.. plus pictures.. (click on the helicopter for next page!)





N12º 55.475

E100º 52.865

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so it seems this ship is the USS Tripoli?


the two questions i came up with to help figure out which ship it was.

Any markings to determine who built the ship/and where?

What type of aircraft is it set up to launch and receive? (thinking maybe it was a helicopter carrier.)



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It's almost certainly the USS Tripoli, since the info on a few different web pages said that after the Tripoli was decommissioned, it was transfered to the army for use in weapons testing, and relocated to Mare Island for refitting to that purpose.


In retrospect, I should have known that it wasn'ta WW2 aircraft carrier; it is much too small, and looking at the pictures, there is a flag right in the middle of where the planes would land. (not to mention that it isn't nearly rusty enough for a 60 year old ship.) But a vietnan era helicopter amphibious assault vessel makes sense.


Thanks to all of you who helped track this down.


-- Mitch

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No way, that one's the MJ-LAMBDA vessel! We had an accident during a run in the Pacific, some of the crew got killed and there was a substancial radiation leak in the experimental reactor compartment. They had to purge the core into the ocean, around 40N 180W. The crew was evacuated around 30N 160W because the radiation levels were still dangerously high. The last we knew the ship was supposed to be scuttled, but something must have gone wrong to prevent this... radiation affected the ship's electronics. Anyways... the ship will be retrieved soon. (AO gets out his cell phone, wanders out of earshot...)






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You guys are correct. This class of ship was replaced in 1976 with the "Tarawa Class" LHA. Note the layout of the flight deck is consistant with the layout of the USS Tarawa.




I served almost 14 months on the Tarawa. I was assigned there when I was in the USMC. I was a helicopter crewchief.


Here is a nice photo of the Tripoli, almost matches the overhead shot.


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Yes, she's the Tripoli.

I used to have a boat in Vallejo and I'd sail close in to check her out. Her name is still on the transom, painted over but you can still see the welded outline.

The USS Oriskany was there for a while with her mast removed to fit under the bridge. They filmed some Robin Williams movie on her one day. She's gone now.

Up the creek a way in the Reserve Fleet is the BB USS Iowa and another LHA, the Iwo Jima I think as well as the cruise ship SS Independence.

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