Ghost Fleets of the United States

In the news recently from the Associated Press is an account of the terrible condition USS OLYMPIA (C-6) is in. She is at risk of sinking at her moorings along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or being sold for scrap or scuttled to create an aritificial reef. Any of these would be ignominius ends for this beautiful – though aging – ship.  

Follow the link below for a picture of Olympia. When I saw the picture I knew immediately that Olympia had served in the Spanish American War in 1898. The white hull and the bow sweeping back (instead of forward) from the waterline are unmistakable attributes of this iconic ship.

Olympia served as the Flagship of the Asiatic Squadron under Commodore Dewey and led the American Fleet to its decisive defeat of the Spanish Navy in Manila Bay, Philippines, during the Spanish American War in 1898.

USS OLYMPIA (C-6) is a key component of the Independence Seaport Museum. Website:

If you are interested in helping save the OLYMPIA, contact the Museum. Consider urging your Representative and Senators to urge / help the Pennsylvania and Washington State delegations save the OLYMPIA, a National Historic Landmark.

Before I discuss some of the ships comprising the Ghost Fleets of the United States, I want to mention:

USS CONSTITUTION – “Old Ironsides” – moored in Boston Harbor. The oldest commissioned ship in the United States and the world. In 1988 or 1989 I was stationed in Connecticut, and travelled to Boston to visit USS CONSTITUTION. It was awe-inspiring to walk the decks of this beautiful, historic ship!

Here are some ships – no longer commissioned – which might be said to comprise Ghost Fleets of the United States.

USS MISSOURI (BB-63) moored in Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i near the Arizona Memorial. “Mighty Mo” – anchored in Tokyo Bay – was the location for Japan’s surrender ceremony on September 2, 1945 ending World War II. Now a museum. Website for the Battleship MISSOURI Memorial:

USS BOWFIN (SS-287) moored in Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i. Museum. Website for USS BOWFIN Submarine Museum and Park:

USS INTREPID (CV-11) moored in New York City Harbor. A museum. Website for the INTREPID Sea, Air and Space Museum:

USS ALABAMA (BB-60) moored in Mobile Bay, Alabama. Museum. Website for Battleship ALABAMA Memorial Park: Includes USS DRUM (SS-228).

These ships – including USS OLYMPIA – are physical links to our history: not only our naval history, but to our history as a nation and a people.

“Whatever the names of things I can assure you that as long as there is a United States of America there will be a United States Navy and a United States Marine Corps. These Services remain inextricably linked.

“Sailors and Marines will be in harm’s way or will be prepared to go in harm’s way immediately.

“I know that loved ones will wait anxiously for their Sailors and Marines to return safely to homeport.”

Quote from my piece The Names of Things. Andrew S. McBride, proud Navy Veteran.

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
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4 Responses to Ghost Fleets of the United States

  1. Thanks for letting everyone know about this, Andy. My grandpa was in the Navy and my dad was in the Marines (of course, are you ever really ‘out’ of the Navy or Marines?). I’ll be sure to share this with my family.

    Write on!

    • Carolyn, you are most welcome. Would you thank your grandpa and your dad for their service for me?

      No, we always retain that connection, and it’s often life changing. Friends we make “in the service” we remember all our lives.

      Thank you for sharing this with your family.

      It would be a fine thing if we could somehow save USS OLYMPIA.

      Sincerely, Andy

  2. Andy,

    I posted this on my facebook page as well. At least I think I did — I’m still new at Fb =).

    Write on,

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