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The Ship that now carries the name, Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, has a long and unique history spanning two generations in service to her country.
The ex-USAFS Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg was first commissioned as the troop transport USNS Gen. Harry Taylor. The ship saw service in WWII, post-war immigration, the Hungarian Revolution, and the Cold War. After decommissioning, it even starred in a popular motion picture. As an artificial reef, the ship will not only be a recreational resource for divers and fishermen, but will serve as an underwater classroom for the Florida Keys Community College, and be a platform for ground-breaking research in reef monitoring as mandated by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Management Plan.
The ship's distinguished history will continue in its final disposition as a recreational, educational and scientific resource.
USS/USNS Gen. Harry Taylor
- 22 February 1943 General G. O. Squier Class Transport Laid down as a Maritime Commission type (C4-S-A1) hull, under a Maritime Commission contract, at Kaiser Co. Inc., Yard No. 3, Richmond, CA
- 10 October 1943 Launched
- 29 March 1944 Acquired by the Navy,
- 1 April 1944 placed in ferry commission for transfer to Portland OR for conversion to a transport by Kaiser at Vancouver, WA
- 10 April 1944 decommissioned
- 8 May 1944 Commissioned USS General Harry Taylor (AP-145), CAPT. J. L. Wyatt in command
- 8 May 1944 to 26 June 1945, Pacific ports
- 7-8 May 1945 Victory in Europe, surrender of Nazi Germany
- 29 June 1945 departed San Francisco for duty in the Atlantic
- 8 July 1945 Passing through Panama Canal
- 5 August 1945 depart from Marseilles France bound for Panama Canal and planned invasion of Japan
- 15 August 1945 announcement of victory over Japan
- 18 August 1945 First Ship Home to New York
- 2 September 1945 Formal surrender of Japan; “Magic Carpet” voyage from Marseilles, bringing home the troops from European fighting
- 13 September 1945 to 21 May 1946, voyages to Egypt, India, LeHavre France and Bremerhaven Germany
- 13 June 1946 Decommissioned at Baltimore, MD.
- Struck from the Naval Register (date unknown)
- Transferred to the US Army Transport Service and placed in commission as USAT General Harry Taylor
- 1 March 1950 Reacquired by the Navy, and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS),
- Placed in service as USNS General Harry Taylor; reclassified (T-AP-145)
- 19 September 1957 Placed out of service,
- 10 July 1958 Transferred to the Maritime Commission for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Beaumont, TX.
USAFS/USNS Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg
- 15 July 1961 Withdrawn from the Reserve Fleet and transferred to the US Air Force,
- Converted to a Missile Range Instrumentation Ship and renamed General Hoyt S. Vandenberg
- 18 July 1963 Recommissioned; dedicated at Baltimore MD as USAF Ship Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg
- 13 July 1964 Reacquired by the Navy, and placed in service by the Military Sealift Command (MSC) as USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (T-AGM-10)
- 1965-1975 Pacific service tracking missiles launched from Space and Missile Test Center, Vandenberg AFB
- January 1976 transferred to Port Canaveral, instrumentation modifications
- 1977 returned to service serving Eastern Missile Range, based at Patrick AFB, Cape Canaveral FL
- Log of the Vandenberg - 1978-82 (with photo gallery)
MARAD Fleet, James River, VA
- 8 February 1983 Transferred to the Maritime Administration MARAD Reserve Fleet, James River VA
- 29 April 1993 Struck from the Naval Register
Universal Pictures Movie, "Virus"
- 10 September 1996 title transfer to Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (DCNO) so that filming for the Movie “Virus” can be authorized.
- 19 June 1997 return from filming to James River Reserve Fleet
- 1999 Artificial Reefs of the Keys identifies Vandenberg as best choice for an artificial reef in Key West; requests MARAD reserve the ship for this purpose
- 15 January 1999, “Virus” released, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland
- 1 May 1999 Title transferred back to (MARAD) for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Fort Eustis, VA.
- 26 January 2007 Transfer Agreement with the State of Florida signed. for reefing in the Florida Keys
- 30 March 2007 Withdrawn from the James River Reserve Fleet for clean up and preparation at Colonna Shipyard Norfolk, VA in preparation for sinking as an artificial reef in Key West FL.
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