USS Spiegel Grove (LSD-32)
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (January 2009)|
USS Spiegel Grove (LSD-32) with a LCAC returning.
|Name:||USS Spiegel Grove|
|Awarded:||18 March 1954|
|Builder:||Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi|
|Laid down:||7 September 1954|
|Launched:||10 November 1955|
|Commissioned:||8 June 1956|
|Decommissioned:||2 October 1989|
|Struck:||13 December 1989|
|Fate:||Sunk intentionally in 2002 off Key Largo to form artificial reef|
|Class & type:||Thomaston-class dock landing ship|
|Displacement:||8,899 long tons (9,042 t) light
11,525 long tons (11,710 t) full load
|Length:||510 ft (160 m)|
|Beam:||84 ft (26 m)|
|Draft:||19 ft (5.8 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 steam turbines, 2 shafts, 23,000 shp (17 MW)|
|Speed:||21 knots (39 km/h)|
|Boats & landing
|21 × LCM-6s
Unknown number of LCACs
|Troops:||330 enlisted troops|
|Complement:||18 officers, 300 crew|
|Armament:||• 8 × 3 in (76mm) DP guns (4×2)
• 12 × 20 mm AA guns (6×2)
|Aircraft carried:||up to 8 helicopters|
USS Spiegel Grove (LSD-32) was a Thomaston-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy. She was named for Spiegel Grove, the home and estate in Fremont, Ohio, of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States.
Spiegel Grove was laid down on 7 September 1954 by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, Miss., launched on 10 November 1955; sponsored by Mrs. Webb C. Hayes, and commissioned on 8 June 1956, Captain S. Filippone in command.
Spiegel Grove sailed for Hampton Roads and arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, 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, North Carolina.
On 9 January 1957, Spiegel Grove, with other ships of Transport Amphibious Squadron 4 (TransPhibRon 4), sailed from Morehead City, North Carolina, 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 22 October, 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 88 (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, Virginia, 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 Mercury-Atlas 7. 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 (39,000 km) 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.
In 1983, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet.
Post-commission career 
In 1998, title passed to the state of Florida, with the plan of sinking the hull to make an artificial reef off Key Largo. To achieve this, the EPA had to increase the acceptable amount of PCB (a toxic chemical substance) remaining in future wrecks from 2 ppm to 50 ppm.
Sinking for reef 
Red tape and financial problems delayed the sinking of USS Spiegel Grove for several years, but the ship was finally moved from Virginia to Florida in May 2002. The ship sank prematurely, on 17 May 2002. During the sinking the ex-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. On 10–11 June, at a cost of $250,000 dollars, the ship was rolled onto her starboard side by Resolve Marine Group, and on 26 June the site was opened to recreational divers. In the next week, over a thousand divers visited the site. The depth of wreck requires that divers have an advanced diving certification.
In April 2003, 48-year-old Eunice Lasala, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, died while diving the Spiegel Grove.
On 20 April 2005, Tarik Khair-el-din, 44 of Indiatlantic, Florida, died while diving the Spiegel Grove.
In February 2006, David Hargis, 48, of Kansas City, died while diving the Spiegel Grove.
On 16 March 2007 three divers (Kevin Coughlin, 51; Jonathan Walsweer, 38; and Scott Stanley, 55 – all from New Jersey) died while attempting a penetration dive inside the remains of the Spiegel Grove. This brings the total number of diver fatalities at the wreck to six.
- Barnette, Michael C. (2008). Florida's Shipwrecks. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-5413-6.
- "Diving The Spiegel Grove: A Little Piece of Heaven Underwater". Cafe Baby Boomers. Retrieved 2007-10-26.
- "Spiegel Grove upright: Hurricane Dennis fixes Florida flop". CDNN – Cyber Diver News Network. 13 July 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-20.
- "48-year old woman dies while scuba diving". Monroe County Sheriff's Office Daily Crime and Information Report – April 2003. 14 April 2003.
- Lemire, Jonathan (18 March 2007). "Death dive: Adventure off Fla. turns to horror for 3 N.J. men". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2007-11-20.
- "Autopsy: Spiegel Grove scuba diving victims drowned". CDNN. 19 March 2007.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: USS Spiegel Grove (LSD-32)|
- Spiegel Grove in the Naval Vessel Register
- Photo gallery of Spiegel Grove at NavSource Naval History
- navysite.de: USS Spiegel Grove
- website of Spiegel Grove as a reef
- The Sinking of the Spiegel Grove