Content

The mystery of the missing USS Conestoga is solved

UPDATED: March 25, 2016. Check out our video explaining the history of the Navy tug
March 23, 2016
The officers and crew of USS Conestoga, in San Diego, California in 1921. Lost for 95 years, the tug was discovered in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary off San Francisco.

NOAA and the U.S. Navy have announced their discovery of the USS Conestoga (AT 54) in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary off San Francisco, 95 years after the Navy seagoing fleet tugboat disappeared with 56 officers and sailors on board.

USS Conestoga at San Diego, California, January 1921.
USS Conestoga at San Diego, California, January 1921. (Naval Historical Center Photograph NH 71299)  

When it left San Francisco on March 25, 1921, Conestoga was en route to Tutuila, American Samoa via Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. But the ship never made it. For months, Conestoga’s mysterious disappearance gripped newspaper readers across the country. Unable to locate the ship or wreckage, the Navy declared Conestoga and its crew lost on June 30, 1921, the last U.S. Navy ship to be lost in peacetime without a trace.

Then in 2009, NOAA's Office of Coast Survey documented a probable, uncharted shipwreck around the Farallon Islands. A further investigation, including a  two-year study to document historic shipwrecks in and near the sanctuary by NOAA and the Naval History and Heritage Command, confirmed it was the Conestoga, solving a 95-year old mystery.

Learn more from NOAA's Dr. James Delgado in this #EarthIsBlue video:

James Delgado, Director of Maritime Heritage for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, explains the importance of the discovery of the USS Conestoga.
Video: The USS Conestoga, lost and found
James Delgado, Director of Maritime Heritage for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, explains the importance of the discovery of the USS Conestoga. You can access more images and historical documents at http://www.sanctuaries.noaa.gov/conestoga. (NOAA Sanctuaries)