USS Lucid (MSO-458)

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USS Lucid (MSO-458) underway in the Pacific Ocean in February 1970.jpg
History
United States
Name: Lucid
Namesake: bright, shining
Builder: Higgins Inc. Shipyard, New Orleans, LA
Cost: $9 million
Laid down: 16 March 1953
Launched: 14 November 1953
Commissioned: 4 May 1955
Decommissioned: 23 December 1970
Struck: 15 May 1976
Homeport: Long Beach, California
Fate: currently undergoing restoration as a museum ship in Stockton, CA
Badge: USS Lucid MSO-458 Logo.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Aggressive-class minesweeper
Displacement: 775 tons
Length: 172 ft (52 m)
Beam: 35 ft (11 m)
Draft: 10 ft (3.0 m)
Propulsion: four Packard ID1700 diesel engines, replaced by four Waukasha Motors Co. diesels, two shafts, two controllable pitch propellers
Speed: 14 knots
Complement: 6 Officers
Crew: 65 Enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SQQ-14 mine hunting sonar
Armament:

USS Lucid (AM-458/MSO-458) is an Aggressive-class minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the task of removing mines that had been placed in the water to prevent the safe passage of ships. She was launched soon after the Korean War, sailed on four WestPac cruises and served two tours in Vietnam. Lucid was decommissioned at the end of 1970 and placed in mothballs after only 15 years of service, as the Vietnam War was winding down and there was no longer a need for a large fleet of minesweepers. She was purchased by some civilians and served as a houseboat for ten years before being sold again and used as a warehouse in the Sacramento Delta. In 2005, Lucid was acquired by a foundation seeking to save a ship of this class and is now undergoing restoration as a museum ship by a maritime museum in Stockton, California. Lucid is the last Aggressive-class minesweeper afloat in the United States.

WestPac tours of duty[edit]

The second warship to be named Lucid by the Navy, AM-458 was laid down by Higgins Inc. Shipyard, New Orleans, Louisiana, 16 March 1953; launched 14 November 1953; sponsored by Mrs. Mary J. Barrow; reclassified MSO-458 on 7 February 1955; and commissioned 4 May 1955, LT J. H. Graham, USN in command.[1]

After shakedown in the Caribbean, Lucid sailed for the Pacific Ocean, arriving Long Beach, California, 22 August. For the next 13 months, she performed minewarfare exercises on the U.S. West Coast, then sailed on her first western Pacific tour 1 October 1956. During the period 1956 to 5 November 1963, Lucid sailed on four WestPac cruises and while there performed operations with the mighty U.S. 7th Fleet. This bastion of strength in the Far East served notice to the Communists that America would not tolerate threats to the peace and stability of the free countries of Asia. In addition to exercises with the 7th Fleet, the minesweeper participated in good will programs in the countries she visited. The time between WestPac cruises was spent in mine countermeasure exercises off the southern California coast.[1]

Supporting Market Time operations[edit]

Throughout 1964 Lucid continued training exercises off the U.S. West Coast, then departed Long Beach 5 April 1965 on her fifth WestPac cruise. Arriving Subic Bay, Philippine Islands. 24 May, she prepared for Operation Market Time off the coast of Vietnam. From June to October the minesweeper continued patrol and surveillance of Vietnamese Junk traffic. She boarded a total of 186 Junks and steel-hulled ships, and contributed to a reduction of enemy infiltration of men and supplies by sea. Lucid returned to Long Beach 14 December and operated off the southern California coast until May 1966 when she commenced overhaul at Harbor Boat Building Co., San Pedro, California.[1]

WestPac deployment after 1966 overhaul[edit]

In October 1966, having completed her overhaul, Lucid prepared for another WestPac deployment. She departed Long Beach on 6 January 1967. Lucid served once again with the Market Time forces, performing surveillance and search duties, as well as hunting mines in the harbors of South Vietnam On 16 October 1967, she departed Subic Bay, homeward bound after a long but rewarding deployment Lucid arrived at Long Beach on 18 November. Following a brief overhaul period, and refresher training, she sailed for WestPac 1 April. Along with patrol duty off the Vietnamese Coast and upkeep periods at Subic Bay and Singapore, Lucid conducted minesweeping exercises with Allied Navies. Returning to Long Beach in mid-October, the minesweeper began a yard period where she (remained) into 1969.[1] In August 1969, Lucid completed an extensive shipyard overhaul which included major modifications and additions to operations and communications capabilities.[2]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross),[3] and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Twice winner of the coveted Battle Efficiency Award (1957-1961) presented to the most outstanding ship in each class. In 1963, she was nominated by Commander Mine Force Pacific for the Ney Memorial Award, which is awarded to the ship with the most outstanding food services facilities. In 1968, Lucid earned the White "M" for minesweeping efficiency.[2]

Decommissioning[edit]

Lucid was decommissioned at U.S. Naval Shipyard Long Beach, California on 23 December 1970. After remarks by her last Commanding Officer, LCDR R. C. Wilgenbusch, USN, her ensign, jack, and commissioning pennant were hauled down, the watch was secured, and the ship was transferred to the U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility, Long Beach.[2]

Lucid was struck from the Navy Vessel Register on 15 May 1976 and "disposed of by Navy Sale" on 1 November 1976.[4] The scrap yard removed valuable metals and equipment. The Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service sold her to W. Dean Kirkpatrick, San Francisco, CA on 30 December 1976 for $40,250.[5]

Civilian life[edit]

Lucid was next converted to a houseboat. W. Dean Kirkpatrick and his wife Vicki, and later Dan Keller and his wife Anneli, lived aboard for several years. They were moored in various locations including Pier 4 at the western end of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the Oakland estuary below Alameda's Park Street Bridge, and a Richmond shipyard. This ended in late 1986 when Dean gave up the ship to (William Gardner) who towed it up to Bradford Island in the Sacramento Delta where it sat for years.[5] Gardner removed and sold everything of value from the ship and used it as a storage building, cutting a hole in the hull on the port side near the water line to use as a door. On 7 September 2004, Gardner was fatally shot by his neighbor.[6]

In 2005, Gardner's widow donated the ship to Navy veteran Mike Warren, who served on the Lucid as an Engineman in the 1960s. Since late 1999, Warren and his "Save an MSO Foundation" had unsuccessfully tried to save an Aggressive-class minesweeper as a museum ship as they were being decommissioned and replaced by the new Avenger-class . The government refused to give one of the last six MSOs to the public, claiming that it was governmental policy not to donate wooden ships due to the cost and magnitude of the maintenance required for upkeep. Eventually, all six ships were dismantled at a cost to the government in excess of $3.5 million. Warren and a group of volunteers began the monumental task of restoring the Lucid by first removing the tons of junk that had accumulated over the years and then repairing the hole in her side.

Lucid was acquired by the Stockton Historical Maritime Museum and in November 2011, she was moved from Bradford Island to her new berth in Stockton, California at a pier of the former Naval Reserve Center on Monte Diablo Avenue.

On 15 March 2012, USS Lucid was dedicated at a ribbon cutting ceremony presented by the Stockton Historical Maritime Museum and the San Joaquin Building Futures Academy. Lucid is currently located at the "Building Futures Academy" site where students will participate in the restoration of the ship. Once restored, the ship will be open for the public for tours and special events, and will be moved to the historic shipbuilding area near Weber Point in Stockton.[7]

The near future[edit]

Upon return to its original appearance, Lucid will be moved to become a representative part of the historic downtown waterfront area near Weber Point, where over a thousand boats and ships were built, beginning in the 1850s and ending in the 1980s. There, the Museum Lucid will become a permanent icon, open to the public for tours and special events. She will serve to honor Stockton's maritime and shipbuilding history, the men and women who labored there, Former and Active Duty Navy, those who served aboard the small vessels that were a large part of the United States Navy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Mooney, James L. (1977). Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, Volume 2. Government Printing Office. p. 160. 
  2. ^ a b c "USS Lucid (MSO-458) Decommissioning Ceremony Program pamphlet". 
  3. ^ Chief of Naval Operations (9 March 2001). "Master List of Unit Awards and Campaign Medals" (PDF). OPNAVNOTE 1650. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Naval Vessel Register LUCID". Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "USS Lucid, MSO 458 Dan Keller". Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Bulwa, Demian (9 September 2004). "BRADFORD ISLAND / Long-running feud blamed in shooting". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  7. ^ "Welcome to the Stockton Historic Maritime Museum – Home of the USS Lucid (MSO-458)". Stockton Historic Maritime Museum. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°57′14″N 121°20′33″W / 37.953869°N 121.342577°W / 37.953869; -121.342577