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 The Spiegel Grove

Dive Type:
Wreck Dive
Typical Depth Range: 60 to 130 feet
Expertise Required: Intermediate to Advanced


The Spiegel Grove, a 510-foot steam turbine-powered Landing Ship Dock launched in 1955 and de-commissioned in 1989, will be the largest ship ever intentionally sunk to create an artificial reef. This war ship was designed to transport landing craft that carried combat troops to shore. Scuba divers will able to reach the top structure of the ship at just 40 feet below the surface, making this wreck dive accessible to a wider range of sport divers then the Duane or Bibb (2 Coast Guard Cutters scuttled nearby for artificial reefs).

The Spiegel Grove named after the Fremont, Ohio, estate of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States was commissioned on June 8, 1956. She served 33 years until her she ended her active service in 1989.

The Spiegel Grove made headlines several times as she saw duty in Cuba, the Middle East, Caribbean and the Mediterranean. After the Iraqi attack of the USS Stark 1987 by a Exocet anti-ship missile, the Spiegel Grove towed the damaged ship to safety. In addition, she was part of the task group in 1971, that rescued the Apollo 14 crew. On November 14, 1978, the Spiegel Grove became the first ship in history to land an air-cushioned vehicle in its well deck. During the mid-1980s, just before she was decommissioned, the vessel ran a series of secret missions, deploying surveillance equipment in Grenada and dropping minesweepers in Nicaragua, according to her former crew.


Specifications of the USS Spiegel Grove
  • D: 6,8880 tons (12,150 fl)
  • S: 22.5 kts
  • Dim: 155.45 x 25.6 x 5.4 (5.8 max.)
  • A: 6/76.2-mm DP (II x 3)-LSD 34 also: 2/20-mm Mk 15 CIWS (I x 2)
  • Electron Equipt: Radar: 1/LN-66, 1/SPS-10, 1/SPS-6
  • M: 2 sets G.E. GT; 2 props; 24,000 hp
  • Range: 5,300/22.5; 10,00/20; 13,000
  • Boilers: 2 Babcock & Wilcox, 40.8kg/cm pressure
  • Fuel: 1,390 tons
  • Man: 18 officers, 325 men + 318 troops

Remarks: Portable helicopter platform. Can carry 3 LCU, 18 LCM (6) or 9 LCM (6) in 119.2 x 14.6 well deck with 975 m of vehicle parking space forward of the docking well. Two 50-ton cranes. Originally had 16 76.2-mm DP (II x 8) now have one mount forward to starboard, and two amidships. Two Mk 56 and 63 gunfire-control systems removed in 1977. Last active U.S. ships with SPS-6 air-search radar. Being decommissioned to reserve for retention for possible emergency mobilization; LSD 32 extended in active service two years, was to have decommissioned 30-98-87.

Combat Fleets of the World
Naval Institute Press
United States Institute
Annapolis, Maryland 21402

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