The USS Spiegel Grove served as a Navy supply ship in Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf. At 510 feet in length, she is among the largest military ships ever scuttled to create an artificial reef. Hours before her scheduled sinking, the Spiegel Grove unexpectedly sank and rolled over onto her starboard side. In 2005, Hurricane Dennis came along and righted the ship. (Courtesy of fla-keys.com/diving/wrecktrek)
The Spiegel Grove (LSD-32) was a Thomaston-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy named after the Ohio home of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States.
Commissioned in 1956, she primarily plied the waters along the Eastern Seaboard and the Caribbean Ocean, but she also saw duty in the Mediteranean, along the African and European coasts and back to Guatanamo Bay before being decommissioned in 1989.
Consigned to the “Mothball fleet,” the Spiegel Grove was selected in 1994 to become an artificial reef at an estimated cost of one million dollars, but it wasn’t until 2002 that she actually arrived in Key Largo. Then, on May 17th, while being positioned, the ship unexpectedly sunk upside down with her stern resting in the sand and the bow jutting out of the water. She remained in this position for three weeks before she was successfully submerged and came to rest on her starboard side. The Spiegel opened to the public on June 24, 2002. Over 1,000 recreational divers visited the wreck within the following week.
Three years later, Hurricane Dennis slammed into the Keys. The force of the Category 3 storm shifted the massive ship and today she rests on her keel in 135 feet of water.