The Sinking of the Vandenberg

USS Hoyt S. Vandenberg Becomes Reef Off Key West

The Vandenberg is one of the world's biggest man-made reefs - 2nd only to the USS Oriskany.  In 2006 the USS Oriskany,  a decommissioned aircraft carrier,  was sunk 24 miles off Pensacola Beach to become the world's largest intentionally sunk artificial reef.

Explosives attached to the ship's hull were detonated to open it for flooding,  which quickly sent it to the seafloor.   The 17,000-ton,  523-foot-long ship was be sunk on a sandy bottom in about 140 feet of clear water.

The Vandenberg began as the Gen.  Harry Taylor and later was commissioned by the Army as a transport vessel,  ferrying troops and supplies from San Francisco to island bases in the western Pacific in 1944.  In 1945 it carried troops home from Europe near the end of World War II.  It later was used by the Navy as a transport ship and was transferred to the Air Force in 1961,  when it was renamed the Vandenberg.  She served as a missile tracker for about 20 more years and was retired in 1983.