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Observation Island EAG-154 - History

Observation Island EAG-154 - History


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Observation Island
(EAG-154 dp. 16,100,1. 564', b. 76', dr. 26', s. 21 k., cpl. 434 cl. Observation Island; T.C4-5-1A)

Observation Island (EAG-154) was laid down as a Mariner Class high speed cargo ship 15 September 1952 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J., Launched as Empire State Mariner 15 August 1953, sponsored by Mrs. Samuel C. VVaugh, and delivered to the 3/faritime Administratfon nnd the United States Lines for operation under General Ageney Agreement 24 February 1954.

Empire State Mariner, Capt. V. R. Arkin, Master, made three voyages for MSTS. The first two took her to Bremerhaven and Liverpool. The third, commencing in May 1954, took her along both the east and west coasts, as well as to the Canal Zone, Guam, Korea, and Japan. She returned to Mobile, Ala. in September 1954, and entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet 9 November.

Empire State Mariner transferred to the Navy 10 September 1956 with three other Mariners. Her conversion to the first naval ship having a fully integrated Fleet Ballistic Missile System was authorized 15 October 1957, and partial eompletion of the project was accomplished at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va. before she commissioned 5 December 1958 as Observatior~ Island (EAG-154), Captain Leslie M. Slack, USN, in command.

During the oonversion there were no major hull or engineering changes made other than installation of a roll stabilization system. However, extensive alterations were accomplished in the superstructure and hold areas so as to aceomodate the FBM Weapons System. Observation Island departed her homeport of Norfolk 3 January 1959, underwent shakedown at Guantanamo Bay, and then operated on the Allantie Missile Range off Cape Kennedy, conducting dummy missile launches and communications tests.

In March 1959 Observation Island returned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for installation of additional equipment including the Ships Inertial Navigation System (SINS). In June she steamed for her new homeport, Port Canaveral, Fla.

and made preparations for the first at-sea launch of a Polaris missile. Designated UGM-27, the missile was sueeessfully launched from Observation Island 27 August.

Following this milestone, Observation Island returned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for installation of a fire control system to enable her to launch more sophisticated guided versions of new generation Polaris missiles. She also received a new launcher, the developmental prototype of those installed in the FBM submarines.

This work was completed in January 1960 and Observation Island returned to Port Canaveral to continue Polaris test launch operations. After a total of six launchings, the ship commenced suppurt of Polaris launchings from FBM submarines. She provided optical and eleetronie data gathering services, and acted as eommunieations relay station between submerged submarines and the supervisor of range operations at the Cape. The first sueeessful fully guided Polaris missile launching from a submerged submarine took place 20 July 1960 from Geor,qe Washington (SSBN-698). Thlougll Octuber Observation Island also supported launches from Patrick Ilenry (SSBN-599)

Following further mod)fications at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in the fall of 1960, Observation Island returned to Port Canaveral in December to continue FBM support work and systems test and evaluation. She Teceived the Navy Unit Commendation 15 December; launched the new A-2 Polaris 1 March 1961; and supported the first submerged A-2 launch from Ethan Allen (SSBN-608) 23 October.

In late 1961 Obervation Island served as a survey ship on the Atlantic Missile Range, and in January 1962 she again put in at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, this time for mod)fieations preparatory to launching the new A-3 Polaris. Returning to Port Canaveral in March, she supported FBM submarines through the following autumn, when she steamed for two months of operations on the Pacific Missile Range.

Observation Island was back at Port Canaveral by Christmas, and until June 1963 she expanded her role of oceanographie survey in the Atlantic Range. She conducted the first successful at-sea launches of the A-3 Polaris 17 and 21 June. President John F. Kennedy came on board 16 November to observe a Polaris launch.

She has since continued to operate essentially as a sea-going platform from which missile launches ean closely approximate condltlons encountered in FBM submarine isunches. Her equnpment is constantly being mod)fied, allowing prototypes to be tested thoroughly before missiles and associated eomponents become operational with the Fleet. As a mobile platform, she can conduct tests in any instumented range.

Observation Island was redesignated AG-154 on 1 April 1968. She commenced an extensive ten month conversion 24 June at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in preparation for support of the Poseidon C-3 missile program. The summer of 1969 found her once again at Port Canaveral, ready to resume experimental missile launchings, to assist in the training of FBM submarine crews, to assist in FBM submarine shakedown operations at Cape Kennedy, and to support other important phases of the development and deployment of FBM Weapons System. She continues this sign)fieant work in 1970.


USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN 619)

USS ANDREW JACKSON was the third LAFAYETTE - class nuclear powered fleet ballistic missile submarine. Decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on August 31, 1989, the ANDREW JACKSON spent the next years at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., awaiting to be disposed of through the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program. Recycling was finished on August 30, 1999.

General Characteristics: Awarded: July 23, 1960
Keel laid: April 26, 1961
Launched: September 15, 1962
Commissioned: July 3, 1963
Decommissioned: August 31, 1989
Builder: Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, Calif.
Propulsion system: one S5W nuclear reactor
Propellers: one
Length: 425 feet (129.6 meters)
Beam: 33 feet (10 meters)
Draft: 31.5 feet (9.6 meters)
Displacement: Surfaced: approx. 7,250 tons Submerged: approx. 8,250 tons
Speed: Surfaced: 16 - 20 knotsSubmerged: 22 - 25 knots
Armament: 16 vertical tubes for Polaris or Poseidon missiles, four 21" torpedo tubes for Mk-48 torpedoes, Mk-14/16 torpedoes, Mk-37 torpedoes and Mk-45 nuclear torpedoes
Crew: 13 Officers and 130 Enlisted (two crews)

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS ANDREW JACKSON. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

Accidents aboard USS ANDREW JACKSON:

History of USS ANDREW JACKSON:

USS ANDREW JACKSON was laid down on 26 April 1961 at Vallejo, Calif., by the Mare Island Naval Shipyard launched on 15 September 1962 sponsored by Mrs. Estes Kefauver, the wife of Senator Kefauver of Tennessee and commissioned on 3 July 1963, Comdr. Alfred J. Whittle, Jr., (Blue crew) and Comdr. James B. Wilson (Gold crew) in command.

Following commissioning, the nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine sailed via the Panama Canal to the east coast. On 1 and 11 October, during shakedown training out of Cape Canaveral, Fla., she successfully launched A-2 Polaris missiles and, on 26 October, she sent A-3X Polaris missiles into space in the first submerged launching of its type and she repeated the feat on 11 November. Five days later and six days before his assassination, on 16 November 1963, President John F. Kennedy embarked in OBSERVATION ISLAND (EAG 154) observed ANDREW JACKSON launch another A-2 polaris missile from a point off Cape Canaveral and congratulated Comdr. Wilson and his crew for "impressive teamwork." In late November, ANDREW JACKSON entered the Charleston Naval Shipyard, Charleston, S.C., for post-shakedown availability.

The yard work was completed on 4 April 1964, and ANDREW JACKSON was assigned to Submarine Squadron 16, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet. In May, she departed her homeport, Charleston, for her first patrol and continued to conduct deterrent patrols from the advanced base at Rota, Spain, through 1973. On 19 March of that year, the submarine arrived at the Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics Corp., Groton, Conn., for a conversion to Poseidon.

This modernization and repair task was completed on 7 August 1975, and the ship sailed to Exuma Sound, Bahamas, for acoustic trials. Next she reported to Cape Canaveral, Fla., for Poseidon missile tests. In December, ANDREW JACKSON returned to Groton, her new homeport, for the Christmas holidays.

Post-shakedown operations continued in 1976. During February, ANDREW JACKSON conducted nuclear weapons acceptance tests at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico St. Croix, and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. She sailed to Charleston and entered the Charleston Naval Shipyard on 8 March for an availability period. ANDREW JACKSON was underway again on 9 May and returned to New London, Conn., in June. The next four weeks were spent in midshipman training cruises in the New London operating area. In late July she left New London for her first strategic deterrent patrol after her Poseidon conversion. When the patrol was completed, ANDREW JACKSON entered her advanced base at Holy Loch, Scotland. In 1977, patrols from Holy Loch were interspersed with port visits at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and New London. In September, a refit was conducted at Charleston, then the submarine returned to Holy Loch. ANDREW JACKSON continued her deterrent patrols from Holy Loch through 1985.

Decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on August 31, 1989, the ANDREW JACKSON spent the next years at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., awaiting to be disposed of through the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program. Recycling was finished on August 30, 1999.


Observation Island EAG-154 - History

The second UNC NROTC Alumni Association endowed Memorial Scholarship named in honor of Master Chief Donald R. Ledford, USN (ret.).

Don Ledford enlisted in the Navy in 1957. During his distinguished career, he served on many ships, afloat staffs, and shore commands. His tours of duty included COMSERVLANT Staff in Norfolk, VA USS Observation Island (EAG 154) homeported in Cape Canaveral, Florida COMNAVAIRLANT Staff in Norfolk, VA USS BAYFIELD (APA 33), flagship for COMPHIBRON SEVEN, homeported in Long Beach, CA COMPHIBRON SEVEN Staff Commander Amphibious Ready Group, Pacific COMIBERLANT Staff in Lisbon, Portugal Administrative Officer, COMDESRON 34 in Charleston, SC Naples, Italy where he was the Administrative Officer for COMFAIRMED, COMSUBGROUP EIGHT, and CTF67 Assistant Officer in Charge, Personnel Administrative Assistance Team, Atlantic, Norfolk, VA and his final assignment as the Administrative Officer, NROTC Unit, University of North Carolina.

Among the highlights of his Naval career was being on the bridge of the USS Observation Island (EAG154) when she fired the first Polaris Missile at sea, and participating in Operation Starlite, the first amphibious operation of the Vietnam War.

Don retired in July 1987 after thirty years of continuous active duty.

His awards include the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross), Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation (Civil Action Color), Vietnam Service Medal (4 Stars), Vietnam Campaign Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal (7), and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

After retiring from the Navy, Don completed Basic Law Enforcement Training and served as a police officer at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill until 1989, then remained active in law enforcement for several years working as a Reserve Deputy for the Chatham County Sheriff's Department.

In 1989, Don returned to the UNC Naval Armory as the Department of Naval Science Administrative Assistant and Department Manager. In 1990, he searched records at the UNC-CH Alumni Center to gather a list of past UNC NROTC commissioned officers, so they could be contacted and encouraged to join the Alumni Association. He served as liaison between the NROTC Unit and the UNC NROTC Alumni Association from its inception in 1990 through 2003. In 1998, Don was elected as a Director of the UNC NROTC Alumni Association and served in that capacity for three years.

Don represented the Professor of Naval Science at various meetings with University officials and was involved with the renovation of the Naval Armory in 2005-2006 when it was re-configured to house the Navy, Army, and Air Force ROTC units.

Don considers the years he spent at the UNC NROTC Unit, while on active duty and as a civilian, as the best years of his Navy and civilian careers, primarily because of his chance to interact with the Midshipmen and Officer Candidates and have a small part in their training. He still keeps in contact with many of the Navy and Marine Corps officers that commissioned through the UNC NROTC unit and has always been proud of their accomplishments.

Don stated that "being awarded the Distinguished Service Award, and having a scholarship award established in my name, by the UNC NROTC Alumni Association, are probably the highest honors I've received. What makes them so special is that they were awarded by UNC NROTC graduates, many of whom commissioned while I was working at the Unit. I can't think of a higher honor."

Don retired from the University in 2003 and is living in the Chapel Hill area with his wife Betty.


Intelligence

The Cobra Judy radar was a ship-based radar program based on the US Naval Ship Observation Island [T-AGM-23]. COBRA JUDY operated from Pearl Harbor and was designed to detect, track and collect intelligence data on US. Russian, and other strategic ballistic missile tests over the Pacific Ocean.

USNS Observation Island was quietly struck from the rolls of U.S. Navy vessels and inactivated on March 31, 2014, ending the 30-year joint Army/Air Force Cobra Judy program.

Originally launched on Aug. 15, 1953 as the Empire State Mariner, a Mariner class high speed cargo ship, the ship entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet in 1954 after a few voyages. The Empire State transferred to the Navy on Sept. 10, 1956 and became the first ship equipped with a fully integrated Fleet Ballistic Missile System. It was officially commissioned two years later on Dec. 5, 1958 as the USS Observation Island.

On Aug. 27, 1959, the USS Observation Island made history as it launched the first sea-launched A-1 Polaris missile. After conducting six launches, the Observation Island provided support to the submarine-launched Polaris test program, providing optical and electronic data collection. Later, President John F. Kennedy watched a Polaris launch demonstration from the decks of the Observation Island on Nov. 14, 1963.

The AN/SPQ-11 shipborne phased array radar is designed to detect and track ICBM's launched by Russia in their west-to-east missile range. The Cobra Judy operates in the the 2900-3100 MHz band. The octagonal S-band array, composed of 12 288 antenna elements, forms a large octagonal structure approximately 7 m in diameter. and is integrated into a mechanically rotated steel turret. The entire system weighs about 250 tonnes, stands over forty feet high.

In 1985, Raytheon installed an 9-GHz X-band radar, using a parabolic dish antenna to complement the S-band phased array system. The five story X-band dish antenna is installed aft of the ship's funnel and forward of the phased array. The X-band upgrade [which may be associated with the COBRA SHOE program name] was intended to improve the system's ability to collect intelligence data on the terminal phase of ballistic missile tests, since operation in X-band offers a better degree of resolution and target separation.

The S-Band and X-Band radars are used to verify treaty compliance and provide support to missile development tests by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. The radars are also being used for research and development work in areas not accessible to ground-based sensors.

The ship is operated by Military Sealift Command for the U.S. Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. Electronic Systems Center provides sustainment while an AIA detachment at Patrick AFB, Fla. oversees daily operation.

USNS Observation Island is a converted merchant ship, modified first as a fleet ballistic missile test launch platform, then as a missile tracking platform. USNS Observation Island operates worldwide, monitoring foreign missile tests for the Air Force Intelligence command. The Military Sealift Command operates ships manned by civilian crews and under the command of a civilian master. These ships, indicated by the blue and gold bands on their stack, are "United States Naval Ships" vice "United States Ships" as is the case of commissioned ships.

U.S.S. Observation Island began her career as the SS Empire State Mariner. Her keel was laid on 15 September, 1952, at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey. Following a short career as a Merchant Vessel she was placed in the Maritime Reserve Fleet. ON 10 September, 1956, the vessel was transferred to the Navy for use as the sea going facility for test and evaluation of the Fleet Ballistic Missile Weapons System.

The ship was commissioned as USS Observation Island (EAG-154) on December 1958. During conversion, extensive changes were made to the superstructure and holds to accommodate the installation of the first compete Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Weapons System. From commissioning, until 27 August 1959, the efforts of the officers and men were directed towards the first at sea launch of Polaris Missile. The first launching of a Polaris test missile at sea was successfully conducted from the deck of the USS Observation Island about seven missiles off Cape Canaveral in September 1959.

Following this milestone and the subsequent firing of other Polaris Missiles, the ship began supporting Polairs launchings from the FBM submarines USS George Washington (SSBN 598) being the first. On 15 December 1960, Observation Island was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for its performance during the first Polaris launches at sea. On 1 March, 1961 the ship successfully launched the new A2 Polaris Missile and on 23 October supported the first successful launch of the new A2 Polaris from an FBM Submarine, the USS Ethan Allen (SSBN 608).

During November and December 1961, Observation Island played the new role of survey ship on the Atlantic Missile Range. In January the ship returned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for further modification in preparation for firing the new A3 Polaris and upon return to Port Canaveral in March 1962, rsumed her role as FBM submarine support ship which continued throught the summer. September and October of 1962 found Observation Island firing A2 Polaris Missiles on the Atlantic Missile Range. In late October, the ship departed for Hawaii via the Panama Canal for similar launches on the Pacific Missile Range. Meanwhile the role of submarine support was taken over by Destroyers mounting communications and telemetry equipment in portable vans. Up intil this time, every Polaris submarine had been supported by the Observation Island.

Observation Island departed Pearl Harbor in early December and arrived in Port Canaveral before Christmas. From late April until early June 1963, Obsrvation Island was expanding her role in oceanagraphic survey in ocean areas of the Atlantic Missile Range. Upon return from survey operations, on 17 June 1963, Observation Island made the first successful at sea launch of the new A3 Polaris Missile. Immediately after firing a second successful A3 Polaris on 21 June, Observation Island proceeded to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for further modifications. The ship returned to Port Canaveral in late August 1963, and supported FBM submarine launches including the first submerged launch of an A3 Polaris missile by the USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN 619) in October. On November 16, 1963, Observation Island was host ship to the late President Kennedy when he came aboard to observe a Polaris A2 launch at sea form the submerged submarine, USS Andrew Jackson. During the winter of 1963 the ship continued to support Polaris launchings from submarines as well as making several launchings from her own decks.

In March 1964, the ship departed Port Canaveral for launch and support operations in the Pacific Missile Range. In early June the ship returned to her home port, after a brief port visit in Acupulco, Mexico. The months from June to October 1964 again found the Observation Island in her familiar role as FBM submarine launching support ship, operating from Port Canaveral. On 14 October 1964 the ship departed her home port for operations in support of the Pacific Missile Range. Liberty ports during this deployment included Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Hong Kong. The deployment ended with the arrival of the ship in Port Canaveral on 9 April 1965. The ship returned to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in the summer of 1965 for a shipyard availability period of approximately two months. Following this overhaul period she returned to daily support operations out of Port Canaveral for FBM submarines and survey work in the Atlantic Missile Range.

The vessel was converted at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and in reserve from September 1972. On Aug. 18, 1977, Observation Island was reacquired by the U.S. Navy from the Maritime Administration and transferred to Military Sealift Command and reclassified as T-AGM 23.

On 14 May 1999, Raytheon Support Services, Burlington, Mass., was awarded an $11,824,227 firm-fixed-price contract to provide for operation and maintenance from May 14, 1999, through May 13, 2000, of the Cobra Judy and Cobra Gemini radar systems deployed on the USNS Observation Island and the USNS Invincible, respectively. There were four firms solicited and three proposals received. Expected contract completion date is May 13, 2000. Solicitation issue date was Oct. 20, 1998. Negotiation completion date was May 13, 1999. The 668th Logistics Squadron, Kelly AFB, Texas, was the contracting activity.

The fully equipped USNS Observation Island/Cobra Judy had a twofold mission: monitoring compliance with strategic arms treaties worldwide and supporting military weapons test programs. The two primary customers were the Air Force Foreign Technology Division and the U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command, a predecessor to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.

Cobra Judy provided the necessary high resolution metric and signature data on midcourse and reentry phases of ballistic missiles flights with particular attention given to the size, shape, mass and precise motion of the target. This information would help recreate target trajectories and define vehicle signatures enhancing future discrimination algorithms.

As the missile defense program progressed, Cobra Judy provided support to many of the missile programs, collecting flight data on both strategic and theater missiles and interceptors throughout the test program. In addition, Cobra Judy participated in Operation Burnt Frost, the destruction of the defective American satellite in 2008.

Over the years, however with few replacement parts available, it became increasingly difficult to support and maintain the Cobra Judy radars. Nevertheless, the USNS Observation Island continued to operate and completed its final mission in December 2013. It was replaced by the new COBRA KING radar system housed aboard the USNS Howard O. Lorenzen.

For more than 31 years, the Observation Island/Cobra Judy averaged more than 260 days a year at sea and completed 558 nationally sponsored missions. As Ed Hotz, a Cobra Judy program manager, observed this spring. "The information collected was critical in the development of shoot-down algorithms for both tactical and strategic missile defense systems supporting international treaty verification [and] providing national decision makers, from the president on down, with precise actionable data on world events."



General Characteristics, USNS Observation Island

Builder: New York Shipbuilding
Conversion: Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Company
Power Plant: Two boilers, geared turbines, single shaft, 19,250 shaft horsepower
Length: 564 feet (172 meters)
Beam: 76 feet (23 meters)
Displacement: 17,015 tons (15,468 metric tons)
Speed: 20 kts (23 mph, 37 kph)
Ship:
USNS Observation Island (T-AGM 23)
Crew: 143 civilians


AN/SPQ-11 COBRA JUDY

The Cobra Judy radar is a ship-based radar program based on the US Naval Ship Observation Island [T-AGM-23]. COBRA JUDY operates from Pearl Harbor and is designed to detect, track and collect intelligence data on US. Russian, and other strategic ballistic missile tests over the Pacific Ocean

The AN/SPQ-11 shipborne phased array radar is designed to detect and track ICBM's launched by Russia in their west-to-east missile range. The Cobra Judy operates in the the 2900-3100 MHz band. The octagonal S-band array, composed of 12 288 antenna elements, forms a large octagonal structure approximately 7 m in diameter. and is integrated into a mechanically rotated steel turret. The entire system weighs about 250 tonnes, stands over forty feet high.

In 1985 Raytheon installed an 9-GHz X-band radar, using a parabolic dish antenna to complement the S-band phased array system. The five story X-band dish antenna is installed aft of the ship's funnel and forward of the phased array. The X-band upgrade was intended to improve the system's ability to collect intelligence data on the terminal phase of ballistic missile tests, since operation in X-band offers a better degree of resolution and target separation.

The S-Band and X-Band radars are used to verify treaty compliance and provide support to missile development tests by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. The radars are also being used for research and development work in areas not accessible to ground-based sensors.

The ship is operated by Military Sealift Command for the U.S. Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. Electronic Systems Center provides sustainment while an AIA detachment at Patrick AFB, Fla. oversees daily operation.

USNS Observation Island is a converted merchant ship, modified first as a fleet ballistic missile test launch platform, then as a missile tracking platform. USNS Observation Island operates worldwide, monitoring foreign missile tests for the Air Force Intelligence command. The Military Sealift Command operates ships manned by civilian crews and under the command of a civilian master. These ships, indicated by the blue and gold bands on their stack, are "United States Naval Ships" vice "United States Ships" as is the case of commissioned ships.

U.S.S. Observation Island began her career as the SS Empire State Mariner. Her keel was laid on 15 September, 1952, at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey. Following a short career as a Merchant Vessel she was placed in the Maritime Reserve Fleet. ON 10 September, 1956, the vessel was transferred to the Navy for use as the sea going facility for test and evaluation of the Fleet Ballistic Missile Weapons System.

The ship was commissioned as USS Observation Island (EAG-154) on December 1958. During conversion, extensive changes were made to the superstructure and holds to accommodate the installation of the first compete Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Weapons System. From commissioning, until 27 August 1959, the efforts of the officers and men were directed towards the first at sea launch of Polaris Missile. The first launching of a Polaris test missile at sea was successfully conducted from the deck of the USS Observation Island about seven missiles off Cape Canaveral in September 1959. Following this milestone and the subsequent firing of other Polaris Missiles, the ship began supporting Polairs launchings from the FBM submarines USS George Washington (SSBN 598) being the first. On 15 December 1960, Observation Island was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for its performance during the first Polaris launches at sea. On 1 March, 1961 the ship successfully launched the new A2 Polaris Missile and on 23 October supported the first successful launch of the new A2 Polaris from an FBM Submarine, the USS Ethan Allen (SSBN 608).

During November and December 1961, Observation Island played the new role of survey ship on the Atlantic Missile Range. In January the ship returned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for further modification in preparation for firing the new A3 Polaris and upon return to Port Canaveral in March 1962, rsumed her role as FBM submarine support ship which continued throught the summer. September and October of 1962 found Observation Island firing A2 Polaris Missiles on the Atlantic Missile Range. In late October, the ship departed for Hawaii via the Panama Canal for similar launches on the Pacific Missile Range. Meanwhile the role of submarine support was taken over by Destroyers mounting communications and telemetry equipment in portable vans. Up intil this time, every Polaris submarine had been supported by the Observation Island.

Observation Island departed Pearl Harbor in early December and arrived in Port Canaveral before Christmas. From late April until early June 1963, Obsrvation Island was expanding her role in oceanagraphic survey in ocean areas of the Atlantic Missile Range. Upon return from survey operations, on 17 June 1963, Observation Island made the first successful at sea launch of the new A3 Polaris Missile. Immediately after firing a second successful A3 Polaris on 21 June, Observation Island proceeded to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for further modifications. The ship returned to Port Canaveral in late August 1963, and supported FBM submarine launches including the first submerged launch of an A3 Polaris missile by the USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN 619) in October. On November 16, 1963, Observation Island was host ship to the late President Kennedy when he came aboard to observe a Polaris A2 launch at sea form the submerged submarine, USS Andrew Jackson. During the winter of 1963 the ship continued to support Polaris launchings from submarines as well as making several launchings from her own decks.

In March 1964 the ship departed Port Canaveral for launch and support operations in the Pacific Missile Range. In early June the ship returned to her home port, after a brief port visit in Acupulco, Mexico. The months from June to October 1964 again found the Observation Island in her familiar role as FBM submarine launching support ship, operating from Port Canaveral. On 14 October 1964 the ship departed her home port for operations in support of the Pacific Missile Range. Liberty ports during this deployment included Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Hong Kong. The deployment ended with the arrival of the ship in Port Canaveral on 9 April 1965. The ship returned to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in the summer of 1965 for a shipyard availability period of approximately two months. Following this overhaul period she returned to daily support operations out of Port Canaveral for FBM submarines and survey work in the Atlantic Missile Range.

The vessel was converted at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and in reserve from September 1972. On Aug. 18, 1977, Observation Island was reacquired by the U.S. Navy from the Maritime Administration and transferred to Military Sealift Command and reclassified as T-AGM 23.

On 14 May 1999 Raytheon Support Services, Burlington, Mass., was awarded an $11,824,227 firm-fixed-price contract to provide for operation and maintenance from May 14, 1999, through May 13, 2000, of the Cobra Judy and Cobra Gemini radar systems deployed on the USNS Observation Island and the USNS Invincible, respectively. There were four firms solicited and three proposals received. Expected contract completion date is May 13, 2000. Solicitation issue date was Oct. 20, 1998. Negotiation completion date was May 13, 1999. The 668th Logistics Squadron, Kelly AFB, Texas, is the contracting activity.


USS Observation Island (E-AG-154) launching a Poseidon C3 missile, 1970 [1500×1882]

Some context for others who, like me, were confused by what is going on in this image:

USNS Observation Island (T-AGM-23) was built [in 1953] as the Mariner-class merchant ship Empire State Mariner for the United States Maritime Commission … The ship was [renamed and] [re]classified in 1979 as the missile range instrumentation ship USNS Observation Island (T-AGM-23). … Observation Island was the platform for the first at-sea firing of the Polaris missile in 1959 and also the platform for first at-sea firing of the Poseidon missile in 1969.

USNS Observation Island (T-AGM-23)

USNS Observation Island (T-AGM-23) was built as the Mariner-class merchant ship Empire State Mariner for the United States Maritime Commission, launched 15 August 1953, and operated by United States Lines upon delivery on 24 February 1954, making voyages for the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) until going into reserve at Mobile, Alabama on 9 November 1954. Title was transferred to the United States Navy on 10 September 1956 and, after conversion, the ship was renamed Observation Island. On commissioning the ship was classified as the "experimental miscellaneous auxiliary" (EAG), USS Observation Island (EAG-154) supporting fleet ballistic missile development. On 1 April 1968 Observation Island was redesignated as a miscellaneous auxiliary USS Observation Island (AG-154).


Photos: Ex-military warcraft lurk in Neches River

1 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

During a visit aboard the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), President John F. Kennedy (center) watches a demonstration of the firing of a Polaris A-2 missile from the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619), at sea off the coast of Florida.

Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

During a visit aboard the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), President John F. Kennedy (center left) watches a demonstration of the firing of a Polaris A-2 missile from the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619), at sea off the coast of Florida.

Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

President John F. Kennedy (center, looking through binoculars) and others stand on the deck of the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), at sea off the coast of Florida. Left to right (in foreground): Commanding Officer of the USS Observation Island, Captain Roderick O. Middleton unidentified military officer (in back) Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell T. Shepard, Jr. President Kennedy (wearing a windbreaker bearing the insignias of the USS Observation Island and the submarine USS Andrew Jackson, SSBN-619, presented as a gift from the crews of both ships) Military Aide to the President, General Chester V. Clifton (in back, mostly hidden) Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance and Senator George A. Smathers (Florida). The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine. [See also MO 75.704, “United States Naval Jacket”]

Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

President John F. Kennedy (center, wearing sunglasses) speaks by radiotelephone to the crew of the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619) from the deck of the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), at sea off the coast of Florida. Left to right: Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance Commanding Officer of the USS Observation Island, Captain Roderick O. Middleton (in back, partially hidden) President Kennedy (wearing a windbreaker bearing the insignias of USS Observation Island and USS Andrew Jackson presented as a gift from the crews of both ships) Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell T. Shepard, Jr. and Senator George A. Smathers (Florida). The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine. [See also MO 75.704, “United States Naval Jacket”]

Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

During a visit on board the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154) at sea off the coast of Florida, President John F. Kennedy (center right, wearing sunglasses) holds a windbreaker presented as a gift from the crews of the USS Observation Island and the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619). Standing with President Kennedy are (L-R): Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell T. Shepard, Jr. and Senator George A. Smathers (Florida) Physician to the President, Rear Admiral Dr. George G. Burkley, stands in the background at far right. The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine. [See also MO 75.704, “United States Naval Jacket”]

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

During a visit on board the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154) at sea off the coast of Florida, President John F. Kennedy (center left, wearing sunglasses) puts on a windbreaker bearing the insignias of the USS Observation Island and the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619) presented as a gift from the crews of both ships. Left to right (in foreground): Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell T. Shepard, Jr. President Kennedy Military Aide to the President, General Chester V. Clifton and Director of Special Projects (USN), Rear Admiral I. J. Galantin. The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine. [See also MO 75.704, “United States Naval Jacket”]

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

President John F. Kennedy (center, wearing sunglasses) speaks by radiotelephone to the crew of the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619) from the deck of the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), at sea off the coast of Florida. Left to right: three unidentified military personnel Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance Commanding Officer of the USS Observation Island, Captain Roderick O. Middleton (in back, partially hidden) President Kennedy (wearing a windbreaker bearing the insignias of USS Observation Island and USS Andrew Jackson presented as a gift from the crews of both ships) Director of Special Projects (USN), Rear Admiral I. J. Galantin and two unidentified sailors. The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine. [See also MO 75.704, “United States Naval Jacket”]

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

During a visit aboard the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), President John F. Kennedy (center right, wearing sunglasses) watches a demonstration of the firing of a Polaris A-2 missile from the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619), at sea off the coast of Florida. Left to right: unidentified military officer (partially hidden on edge of frame) White House Secret Service agent, Floyd Boring (in back) Commanding Officer of the USS Observation Island, Captain Roderick O. Middleton Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance President Kennedy (wearing a windbreaker bearing the insignias of USS Observation Island and USS Andrew Jackson presented as a gift from the crews of both ships) and Director of Special Projects (USN), Rear Admiral I. J. Galantin. [See also MO 75.704, “United States Naval Jacket”]

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

President John F. Kennedy (center left, wearing sunglasses) walks with Military Aide to the President, General Chester V. Clifton, toward a United States Marine Corps helicopter prior to his departure from the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), at sea off the coast of Florida sailors (flanking both sides) salute President Kennedy. Also pictured: White House Secret Service agent, Floyd Boring Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance Senator George A. Smathers (Florida) Commanding Officer of the USS Observation Island, Captain Roderick O. Middleton and Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell T. Shepard, Jr. The President (wearing a windbreaker bearing the insignias of the USS Observation Island and the submarine USS Andrew Jackson, SSBN-619, presented as a gift from the crews of both ships) sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine.

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

President John F. Kennedy (center left, wearing sunglasses) and others stand on the deck of the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), at sea off the coast of Florida. Left to right (in foreground): Director of Special Projects (USN), Rear Admiral I. J. Galantin (facing away) Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance President Kennedy and Senator George A. Smathers (Florida). The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619).

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

President John F. Kennedy (right, wearing sunglasses) receives a plaque from crew members of the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619) during his visit on board the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island, at sea off the coast of Florida Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell T. Shepard, Jr. (far right, with back to camera), looks on. President Kennedy sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine. [See also MO 63.2185, “Plaque Commemorating Polaris A-2 Firing”]

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

During a visit aboard the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), President John F. Kennedy (center, looking through binoculars) watches a demonstration of the firing of a Polaris A-2 missile from the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619), at sea off the coast of Florida. Left to right: Commanding Officer of the USS Observation Island, Captain Roderick O. Middleton Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance President Kennedy and Director of Special Projects (USN), Rear Admiral I. J. Galantin.

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

President John F. Kennedy (center left) shakes hands with Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance, prior to his departure from the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), at sea off the coast of Florida sailors (flanking both sides) salute President Kennedy. Also pictured: White House Secret Service agent, Floyd Boring Senator George A. Smathers (Florida) Director of Special Projects (USN), Rear Admiral I. J. Galantin Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell T. Shepard, Jr. Military Aide to the President, General Chester V. Clifton and White House photographer, Chief Robert L. Knudsen. The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619).

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

President John F. Kennedy (bottom right, wearing sunglasses) and others stand on the deck of the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), at sea off the coast of Florida Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell T. Shepard, Jr. (on edge of frame), stands at far right. President Kennedy sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619).

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

During a visit on board the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154) at sea off the coast of Florida, President John F. Kennedy (center, wearing sunglasses) puts on a windbreaker bearing the insignias of the USS Observation Island and the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619) presented as a gift from the crews of both ships. Left to right (in foreground): Commanding Officer of the USS Observation Island, Captain Roderick O. Middleton Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance Senator George A. Smathers (Florida) Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell T. Shepard, Jr. President Kennedy Military Aide to the President, General Chester V. Clifton and Director of Special Projects (USN), Rear Admiral I. J. Galantin. The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine. [See also MO 75.704, “United States Naval Jacket”]

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

During a visit on board the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154) at sea off the coast of Florida, President John F. Kennedy (center, wearing sunglasses) puts on a windbreaker presented as a gift from the crews of the USS Observation Island and the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619). Left to right (in foreground): Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance Senator George A. Smathers of Florida (back to camera) President Kennedy Military Aide to the President, General Chester V. Clifton and Director of Special Projects (USN), Rear Admiral I. J. Galantin. The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine. [See also MO 75.704, “United States Naval Jacket”]

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

President John F. Kennedy (center left, wearing sunglasses) speaks by radiotelephone to the crew of the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619) from the deck of the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), at sea off the coast of Florida. Left to right: unidentified military officer Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance Commanding Officer of the USS Observation Island, Captain Roderick O. Middleton President Kennedy (wearing a windbreaker bearing the insignias of USS Observation Island and USS Andrew Jackson presented as a gift from the crews of both ships) Senator George A. Smathers (Florida) Director of Special Projects (USN), Rear Admiral I. J. Galantin and two unidentified sailors. The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine. [See also MO 75.704, “United States Naval Jacket”]

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

During a visit aboard the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), President John F. Kennedy (bottom right) watches a demonstration of the firing of a Polaris A-2 missile from the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619), at sea off the coast of Florida.

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

During a visit aboard the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), President John F. Kennedy (bottom right) watches a demonstration of the firing of a Polaris A-2 missile from the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619), at sea off the coast of Florida.

Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Show More Show Less

31 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

32 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

34 of 177 Signs mark the Navy's decades-long presence in Orange, which was base for a Naval Reserve Center until closing in 1975. It is part of the area's long-time affiliation with the Navy and ship-building industry. Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

35 of 177 Lt. Cmdr. Gordy Waters, who served in WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam, is shown here in a file photo. Waters was the last commander at the Naval Reserve Center in Orange, which closed in 1975, after 34 years in the Golden Triangle. passed away in 2010 in Grapeland, TX. Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

37 of 177 Crews work aboard a ship in Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

38 of 177 Crews work aboard a ship in Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

40 of 177 Crews work aboard a ship in Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

41 of 177 The USS Yard Freighter Reefer 443 makes its way up the river for assignment to Beaumont's reserve fleet in 1962. Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

43 of 177 Pictured here are the team of inspectors who came to evaluate Beaumont's "mothball fleet" in its bid for national honors. The reserve shipyard was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

44 of 177 Crews work aboard a ship in Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

46 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

47 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

49 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

50 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

52 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

53 of 177 Crews work aboard a ship in Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

55 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

56 of 177 Crews work aboard a ship in Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

58 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

59 of 177 Seen in this 1960 photo, the SS Joseph Lykes, which was part of the local Lykes Bros. Steamships line, makes its way up the Neches River to be retired at Beaumont's "mothball fleet." The ship made roughly 94 round trips in its 20-year history. Beaumont's reserve fleet was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

61 of 177 Crews work aboard a ship in Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

62 of 177 Pictured in this 1960 image is the USS Wagner, a WWII destroyer escort that was brought to the area from a reserve fleet in Massachusetts for repair at Bethlehem Steel for decommissioning. Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

64 of 177 Crews work aboard a ship in Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

65 of 177 Crews work aboard a ship in Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

67 of 177 A gun-turret cap is hoisted into place aboard a retired ship brought to Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

68 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

70 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

71 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

73 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

74 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet," which is shown here in a 1977 photo, was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

76 of 177 In this 1972 photo, several of the vessels berthed at Beaumont's "mothball fleet" are visible. At the time, the 20 Liberty ships seen at left were slated to be sunk to the floor of the Gulf of Mexico as artificial reefs to attract marine life. Beaumont's reserve fleet was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

77 of 177 Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent Show More Show Less

79 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

80 of 177 The newest docks, completed in 2014, await future vessels at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

82 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

83 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

85 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

86 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

88 of 177 A Brazilian cargo ship, which was repossessed by the U.S. after the shipping company defaulted on payments amid nationwide bankruptcy, is among the vessels housed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

89 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

91 of 177 A massive propeller sits partially submerged beneath the hull of a retired vessel at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

92 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

94 of 177 Tall towers and turrets jut from the decks of the retired vessels housed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

95 of 177 The Pollux and Regulus are two of the ROS ships berthed at the new docks at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

97 of 177 Heavy chains and anchors hold the retired Navy vessels and other ships in place at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

98 of 177 Heavy chains and anchors hold the retired Navy vessels and other ships in place at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

100 of 177 Observation Island, right, was a spy ship in service in the 1960's, and was visited by President John F. Kennedy, who watched a new missile launch test at Cape Canaveral from its deck. President Kennedy was assassinated six days later. The vessel is among those awaiting scrap disposal in Brownsville at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

The Pollux and Regulus are two of the ROS ships berthed at the new docks at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise

103 of 177 Retired vessels are anchored at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

104 of 177 The USS Nassau is the oldest vessel at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, moored to the river bed by one million pounds of chains and anchors. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

106 of 177 Retired vessels are anchored at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

107 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

109 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

110 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

112 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

113 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

115 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

116 of 177 The Pollux and Regulus are two of the ROS ships berthed at the new docks at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

118 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

119 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

121 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

122 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

124 of 177 Ships are monitored for rust-preventing electronic current circulating beneath their hulls, as well as humidity levels, and alarms for fire or break-in at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

125 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

127 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

128 of 177 Oil spill retention areas surround some of the vessels at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

130 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

131 of 177 Observation Island was a spy ship in service in the 1960's, and was visited by President John F. Kennedy, who watched a new missile launch test at Cape Canaveral from its deck. President Kennedy was assassinated six days later. The vessel is among those awaiting scrap disposal in Brownsville at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

133 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

134 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

136 of 177 Heavy cranes fill the top deck of a ship berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

137 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many like the Nassau, will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

139 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

140 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels, including the Nassau (right) and Tripoli, a missile defense ship which served three tours of duty in Vietnam, are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

142 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

143 of 177 An oil spill containment system surrounds some of the vessels housed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

145 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

146 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

148 of 177 The Regulus is one of two of the ROS ships berthed at the new docks at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

149 of 177 Additional berths were constructed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, with the multi-million dollar project completed in 2014. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

151 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

152 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

154 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

155 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

157 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Scaffolding fills the exterior of the Nassau as crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

158 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

160 of 177 The Nassau is among the oldest of the retired ships at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

161 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Scaffolding fills the exterior of the Nassau as crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

163 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many like the Nassau, will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. An electronic system is affixed to the ships, with current circulating below the river surface that prevents rust. Crews continue to maintain the exteriors and interiors, removing chipping paint that would otherwise fall into and pollute the river. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

164 of 177 A small craft makes its way out to the berthing site at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

166 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

167 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

169 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

170 of 177 Nearly two dozen retired or on reserve naval vessels are berthed at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, awaiting their next deployment, which for many will ultimately be a scrap yard in Brownsville. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

172 of 177 Old maritime and Navy materials are on display at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

173 of 177 Old maritime and Navy materials are on display at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

175 of 177 The USS Nassau is the oldest vessel at the Beaumont National Defense Reserve Fleet on the Neches River, moored to the river bed by one million pounds of chains and anchors. Started after WWII, the site was one of eight fleets operating throughout the major U.S. coastal waterways. The units were known as "Mothball or Ghost Fleets," mooring decommissioned naval vessels which were maintained and could be reactivated into duty if needed. Though still home to many vessels scheduled to be scrapped, the fleet was expanded in 2014, with the Maritime Administration allocating millions of dollars to construct the Marad Lay Berth Facility, which allows for eight vessels. ROS ships, each of which is maintained by full-time crews, are also moored at the site. Photo taken Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Kim Brent/The Enterprise Kim Brent Show More Show Less

176 of 177 Aerial photo of the U.S. Reserve Fleet in the Neches River. Photo taken Friday, July 15, 2016 Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise Guiseppe Barranco/Photo Editor Show More Show Less

A former Navy ship graced by President John F. Kennedy six days before he was assassinated will accommodate scrappers within months as the so-called mothball fleet in Beaumont prepares to bid farewell to another vessel.

Today the ship, named Observation Island, is one of nearly two dozen current or former military watercraft tucked in a Neches River bend awaiting their next deployment. For many, the only voyage ahead is to a ship-breaker.

The U.S. Maritime Administration-run Beaumont Reserve Fleet's mission has evolved since it accepted its first vessels amid the World War II drawdown 68 years ago. But part of its purpose remains to serve as the final rest stop for sea-based artifacts destined for destruction.

On Nov. 16, 1963, the storied and well-traveled Observation Island hosted Kennedy in what a sailor aboard that day remembers as a symbolic moment in world affairs.

Kennedy stood on deck with a pair of binoculars to view a test launch of a submarine-fired missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead 1,700 miles. The U.S. was at war in Vietnam and one year beyond the Cuban Missile Crisis. Six days later, Kennedy was killed in Dallas.

Rick Munch, who was there for the presidential visit, hopes to board Observation Island for the final time in September.

His visit isn't to quench nostalgia, but to help scavenge the ship of equipment before it's sent to a ship-breaker in Brownsville or New Orleans.

The salvaged equipment would go on the USS Kidd, a WWII destroyer converted into a Baton Rouge museum, where Munch volunteers. Munch, although understanding that not all ships can be saved, wishes Observation Island had a similar future.

"It's just something about an old Navy ship that really touches your heart," said Munch, who was an interior communications electrician. "It isn't alive, but it seems to be alive."

Beaumont's "mothball fleet" was one of eight national shipyards operated by the U.S. Maritime Reserve along the nation's three major coastlines. The sites acted as a vital part of the nation's defense after WWII, repairing and housing Naval vessels that could be duty-ready as needed in the future. The fleet provided not only a strategic arm to the nation's defense, but was a local economic boon, as well. Employment both on site and in ancillary industries added work and money to the region. Enterprise file photo Kim Brent

Ships showcase history

Recreational and commercial river-riders pass the McFadden Bend cove daily. But while the fleet is hardly secret and within view, public access to the mostly idle war machines is restricted.

Ships there are diverse in age, utility, future use and what their stories say about past and present world affairs.

The Regulus and Pollux are moored at the fleet's new lay-berth piers. The ships, which are designated as "ready reserve," are accompanied by crews and can be ready for service within five days of being called.

Lawrence Wolfford, deputy superintendent of the Beaumont Reserve Fleet, said the Regulus, Pollux and two other "ready reserve" vessels on hand are indicative of how the anchorage's mission has changed.


USS Observation Island (E-AG-154) firing a Polaris Missile off Cape Canaveral, FL., date unknown.[1500 x 1863]

I bring this up every time anyone says Polaris or Long Beach: USS Long Beach was at one point during her design process conceived with space for carrying four Polaris missiles aft of the bridge. The space was originally meant for Regulus cruise missiles, but after those were retired (due to Polaris coming on line), Polaris was put there instead. The concept was eventually deleted and the area was instead fitted with two 5" guns, one on either side, because President Kennedy said she should have guns.

Though no American surface ships were ever built with Polaris in mind, the Italian Navy really got behind the idea of Polaris-armed cruisers. The WW2-veteran cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi was rebuilt as a guided missile cruiser in the late ❐s and included four tubes meant for Polaris. The early ❠s new-build helicopter cruisers of the Andrea Doria class were slated to carry two Polaris missiles per ship, but the launching tubes were never installed. Lastly, the Vittorio Veneto, another helicopter cruiser, was built with four Polaris tubes in the late ❠s.

The missiles were never given to the Italians for diplomatic reasons, so the Italians launched a program to build their own similar weapon, which they called Alfa. Despite successful tests, the signing of the NPT and the changing political landscape led to its cancellation in 1975, and none of the 40ish missiles were ever armed with shared US nuclear warheads or installed on any ships.


By NHHC

In commenting on the selfless service of U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsmen, General Alfred M. Gray, USMC (Ret), the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Korean War veteran, noted that he “saluted our Corpsmen for their courage, valor, and willingness to serve above and beyond the call of duty.”

General Gray’s moving tribute would be most fitting in recognition of the heroism displayed by Hospitalman Francis C. Hammond, USN (Deceased) on the night of 26-27 March 1953. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, the twenty-one year old Hospitalman was serving with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, when his platoon was subjected to a barrage of enemy mortar and artillery fire. Although wounded, Hospitalman Hammond continued to administer aid to his wounded Marines throughout an exhausting four-hour period. When his unit was finally ordered to withdraw, he remained in the fire-swept area and skillfully directed the evacuation of casualties, until he fell mortally wounded from enemy mortar fire. Hospitalman Hammond’s heroic efforts undoubtedly saved the lives of many of “his” Marines, and his sacrifice was honored nine months later by the presentation to his wife and infant son of a posthumous Medal of Honor.

On July 25, 1970, the USS Francis Hammond (DE/FF-1067) was commissioned in Long Beach, CA. After 22 years in service, Hammond was decommissioned in 1992 and dismantled nine years later.

Today, the Camp Margarita Medical Clinic at Camp Pendleton, California, and a school in his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, bear the name of the young Hospitalman, who in the finest tradition of the Navy Hospital Corps, gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country and Marines. займ на карту онлайн


Watch the video: Submarine Service In The 1970s (May 2022).


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