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USS Mindanao (ARG-3), 1943-1962—446 FT




History of the USS Mindanao

(Click thumbnail pictures for larger picture)

The USS Mindanao, an internal combustion engine repair ship, was converted from the "Liberty" ship Elbert Hubbard while under construction at Baltimore, Maryland. Commissioned in November 1943, she was soon assigned to the South Pacific to support the Navy's wartime operating forces. On 10 November 1944, while at Manus Naval Base, Admiralty Islands, Mindanao was seriously damaged by the explosion of the nearby ammunition ship USS Mount Hood. Following repairs, she continued her support functions in the South and Western Pacific until March 1946, when she sailed for the U.S. USS Mindanao was decommissioned on 17 May 1946, and remained in "mothballs" until she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1962.

Sea Dogs Dive Center dives this wreck on a  regular basis. It is an impressive dive. and a favorite spearfishing destination for us. She currently rests in 80 FSW, and is located approximately 11 miles out of Ponce Inlet.

Her main deck is 60 ft. below the surface and lies in a general N-S direction. The superstructure was removed before the sinking. The wreck suffered damage during the 1995 winter storms and the bow is now separated from the hull. Schools of bait fish, tomato grunts, mangrove snapper, and a few anchors are often in her open holds. Small clumps of ivory bush coral and encrusting sponges and tunicates are growing on the steel hull.

Photo #: NH 96174
Explosion of USS Mount Hood (AE-11) in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944

mindanao02.jpg (121296 bytes)

Salvage and rescue work underway on USS Mindanao (ARG-3) shortly after Mount Hood blew up about 350 yards away. Note heavy damage to Mindanao's hull and superstructure, including large holes from fragment impacts. View looks forward from alongside her port quarter.

USS Mindanao had 180 crewmen killed and injured by this explosion. She was under repair until 21 December 1944.

Small craft alongside or nearby include (from left) YPB-6 (probable identification), two LCVPs and YPB-7.
Copied from the War Diary, Manus Naval Base, for November 1944
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Photo #: NH 96175
Explosion of USS Mount Hood (AE-11) in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944

Four motor minesweepers (YMS) alongside the starboard side of USS Mindanao (ARG-3) shortly after Mount Hood blew up about 350 yards away from Mindanao's port side.

Four motor minesweepers (YMS) alongside the starboard side of USS Mindanao (ARG-3) shortly after Mount Hood blew up about 350 yards away from Mindanao's port side. These wooden minesweepers were protected from most of the direct force of the blast by Mindanao's hull, but received some damage.
USS YMS-340 is second from the left. Note that her open bridge bulwarks have been blown down.
Also note differing types of retracting acoustic "hammer box" mountings on the bows of these ships.
Copied from the War Diary, Manus Naval Base, for November 1944
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Photo #: NH 45736
USS Mount Hood (AE-11)

mindanaoExplosion01.jpg (72727 bytes)

Explodes in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944.
The photograph was taken by a sailor from Spencer, West Virginia, who gave it to the donor.
Donation of Admiral Felix B. Stump, 1963.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

 

Photo #: NH 65605
USS Mount Hood (AE-11)

mindanaoExplosion02.jpg (86225 bytes)

Explodes in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944.
Photographed by a photographer of the 57th Construction Battalion, who had set up his camera to take pictures of the Battalion's camp.
Note smoke trails left by fragments ejected by the explosion, and splashes at their impact points.
Collection of Commander Lester B. Marx, Commanding Officer of the 57th C.B.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Photo #: NH 95405
Explosion of USS Mount Hood (AE-11) in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands, 10 November 1944

mindanaoExplosion03.jpg (143440 bytes)

Small craft gathered around USS Mindanao (ARG-3) during salvage and rescue efforts shortly after Mount Hood blew up about 350 yards away from Mindanao's port side. Mindanao, and seven motor minesweepers (YMS) moored to her starboard side, were damaged by the blast, as were USS Alhena (AKA-9), in the photo's top left center, and USS Oberrender (DE-344), in top right.
Note the extensive oil slick, with tracks through it made by small craft.
Copied from the War Diary, Manus Naval Base, for November 1944
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

mindanao03.jpg (12398 bytes)

U.S.S Mindanao during WW II, before being damaged by the explosion.

 

 

 

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