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Lars Hemel
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The USS Strength is one of Florida's best known shipwrecks rewarded by battle stars for her service near Pearl Harbor.

Name Dive Site:USS Strength
Depth: 59-78ft (18-24m)
Accessibility: Boat
Inserted/Added by: lars, © Author: Lars Hemel

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The USS Strength is a 184 feet long naval mine sweeper, originally built in Seattle, Washington in 1943. She was stationed in Pearl Harbor in mine sweeping operations off Iwo Jima, Kerama Retto and Okinawa. She once got away a Japanese submarine attack where she was just missed by three torpedo's passing her underneath and aside. She was just missed by a Japanese suicide plane because her top guns shot the fighter out of the air crashing into the water less than one hundred yards beside them. The USS Strength received three battle stars for her service during World War II and up until today there is a plague visible on her side that reminds us of its history. When she was removed from the active list of naval ships in 1967 she was used by the Navy's Salvage Diver School for dive training. They sank and refloated her many times to practise salvaging techniques. In 1987 they decided to permanently sink the wreckage at only six miles southeast of Panama City.

Originally she landed on her starboard side but hurricane Opal has brought the wreck upright again in 1995. The vessel is broken in three parts, has no pilot house anymore and the middle of the ship is full of sharp edges and loose scrapings, providing excellent places for marine life. She has a beam of 33 feet, dive profile of thirty feet and three intact quarters at the back. There are several access holes and hatchways available where you can enter parts of the wreck. Only trained wreck divers should do this as there is a lot of silt inside which can create some hazardous situations.

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