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USS Spiegel Grove (LSD 32)

- decommissioned -
- sunk as an artificial reef -


Named after the home and estate in Fremont, Ohio, of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States, the USS SPIEGEL GROVE was the fifth THOMASTON - class dock landing ship. Decommissioned after 33 years of service on October 2, 1989, the SPIEGEL GROVE was stricken from the Navy list on December 13, 1989. The SPIEGEL GROVE spent the following years at the James River Reserve Fleet, Fort Eustis, Va., until she was sunk as an artificial reef at Key Largo, Fla., on May 17, 2002.

General Characteristics:Awarded: March 18, 1954
Keel laid: September 7, 1954
Launched: November 10, 1955
Commissioned: June 8, 1956
Decommissioned: October 2, 1989
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss.
Propulsion system: two 600 psi boilers, twp geared turbines
Propellers: two
Length: 510 feet (155.5 meters)
Beam: 84 feet (25.6 meters)
Draft: 19 feet (5.8 meters)
Displacement: approx. 11,300 tons full load
Speed: 22 knots
Well deck capacity: three LCU or nine LCM-8 or 50 AAV
Aircraft: helo platform only
Crew: Ship: 18 officers, 330 enlisted
Marine Detachment: approx. 330 Marines
Armament: two dual 3-inch/50-caliber Mk-33 gun mounts


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Crew List:

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


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USS SPIEGEL GROVE Cruise Books:

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Accidents aboard USS SPIEGEL GROVE:

DateWhereEvents
January 27, 1976Augusta Bay, Sicily, Italy
While anchored in Augusta Bay, the SPIEGEL GROVE is struck on the bow and starboard quarter by the Panamian merchant vessel HONESTY which had dragged anchor during winds of 50 knots.
February 5, 1980Atlantic
USS INCHON (LPH 12) collides with the SPIEGEL GROVE while refueling in the Atlantic while en route to the Mediterranean. No injuries are reported and damage is minor.


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History:

USS SPIEGEL GROVE was laid down on 7 September 1954 by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, Miss., Iaunched on 10 November 1955; sponsored by Mrs. Webb C. Hayes, and commissioned on 8 June 1956, Capt. S. Filippone in command.

SPIEGEL GROVE sailed for Hampton Roads and arrived at Norfolk, Va., on 7 July. She headed for the Guantanamo Bay area on her shakedown cruise on 26 July and returned on 15 September. The ship was in the yard during October; and, in November, she participated in amphibious exercises off Onslow Beach, N.C.

On 9 January 1957, SPIEGEL GROVE, with other ships of Transport Amphibious Squadron (TransPhibRon) 4, sailed from Morehead City, N.C., with elements of the 6th Marines embarked, for a tour with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She returned to Norfolk on 3 June and operated along the east coast for the remainder of the year. In November, she transported 364 Army troops to Labrador. In January 1958, the LSD was deployed with her squadron to the 6th Fleet on an extended tour which did not end until 6 October. On the 22nd, SPIEGEL GROVE was assigned to PhibRon 10, the new Fast Squadron. The years 1959 and 1960 saw the LSD participating in numerous operations along the east coast and in the Caribbean.

SPIEGEL GROVE stood out of Norfolk in April 1961 with Task Force (TF) 88 for "Solant Amity II," a good-will tour to the African coast. The force carried tons of medical supplies, food and disaster supplies, toys, books, and seed. During the four-month cruise, the ships visited Gambia, Durban, the Malagasy Republic, the Seychelles Islands, Zanzibar, Kenya, the Union of South Africa, Togo, and Gabon before returning home on 8 September. She then entered Horne Brothers Shipyard, Newport News, Va., for an overhaul that was not completed until early January 1962.

SPIEGEL GROVE conducted refresher training and then spent March and April in amphibious exercises in the Caribbean. In May, she took part in operations supporting Malcolm Scott Carpenter's manned space flight. In July and August, she returned to the Caribbean for "Phibulex 2-62." On 1 December 1962 a tender availability period was begun to prepare the ship for "Solant Amity IV." The LSD loaded supplies during January 1963 and sailed, on 15 February, for her second good-will tour which lasted until late May. The ship steamed over 21,000 miles and visited nine countries before returning home. SPIEGEL GROVE next deployed to the Caribbean from July to September with PhibRon 8.

The landing ship has spent the greater part of her active service participating in amphibious exercises along the eastern seaboard and in the Caribbean. SPIEGEL GROVE was deployed to the 6th Fleet from January to June 1964, 3 November 1966 to 11 May 1967; and from 17 April to 9 October 1971. She participated in Operation "Steel Pike I" off Spain in October 1964 and made a midshipman cruise to England and Denmark in 1970.

SPIEGEL GROVE has gained national attention by rescuing 282 American and other foreign nationals etranded in Beirut during the 1976 Lebanon Civil War and in 1981 when she represented the Atlantic Fleet during a goodwill cruise in the Caribbean Sea area. For that later action, she was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation by the Secretary of the Navy. In March of 1982, the SPIEGEL GROVE became the first ship in her class to successfully complete a Combat Systems Post Overhaul Exam.

The SPIEGEL GROVE was busy during 1983 as she participated in Solid Shield '83, deployments to South America for UNITAS XXIV and West Africa for WATC '83. In late 1983, SPIEGEL GROVE made a deployment above the Arctic Circle for United Effort/Teamwork '84; conducting exercises with NATO allies. The remainder of 1984 found the ship preparing for another deployment to the Mediterranean. The SPIEGEL GROVE conducted extensive training operations throughout the summer months, including several with Marine and Army Forces.


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About the Sinking of USS SPIEGEL GROVE:

On June 13, 2001, the SPIEGEL GROVE was transferred to the State of Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Largo, Fla., by the Maritime Administration, so that the ship could be sunk as an artificial reefing and to become a tourist attraction for divers. Following the transfer, the SPIEGEL GROVE was towed to Norfolk, Va., to be prepared for the upcoming sinking. On May 17, 2002, the sinking was conducted. The idea was to flood the hull so that the SPIEGEL GROVE would sink to the bottom of the sea, finally ending up sitting on her keel to allow divers to explore the vessel later on in the shallow waters off Key Largo. However, during the sinking the SPIEGEL GROVE suddenly started rolling on her starboard side, ending up upside down on the sea bottom and leaving her bow protruding slightly out of the ocean. Eventually she was sent to her watery grave laying on her starboard side. The SPIEGEL GROVE is now located 6 miles off the Florida Keys in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Her exact location is 025 04' 00.2" North, 080 18' 00.7" West.



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