Sunday, January 27, 2008
Officials overseeing the transformation of a retired U.S. Air Force missile tracking ship into an artificial reef off Key West said Saturday they are planning to sink the ship May 15. The General Hoyt S. Vandenberg is currently at a Norfolk, Va., shipyard where workers are preparing it for sinking by removing environmental hazards. Plans are to scuttle the ship in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
USAFS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (T-AGM-10)Officials with Reefmakers, the organization overseeing the project, are planning to tow the 522-foot-long vessel to Key West sometime in March for final preparations. Supporters say the Vandenberg project will provide additional marine habitat and a new attraction for recreational divers. Before it was decommissioned in 1983, the Vandenberg also tracked manned U.S. space missions, beginning with Mercury blastoffs in the early 1960s. The ship played a role as a Russian science ship in "Virus," a 1999 motion picture starring Jamie Lee Curtis.