A former naval ship which began its career 64 years ago is scheduled to perform a final mission, which might last more than 75 years.
The Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg has changed its name, served three different military services, been featured in a major motion picture and will perform its final mission as an artificial reef when it is sunk off the coast of Key West, Fla.
The 533-foot ship formerly known as the troop transport USS General Harry S. Taylor will serve an environmental mission to help relieve recreational pressure from the natural reef in the Florida Keys as part of the Vandenberg Artificial Reef Project.
Vandenberg is being cleaned for the protection of marine life before its scheduled sinking in May 2008.
Though Vandenberg was overhauled into an Air Force missile-tracking vessel, it isn't the first ship with a naval origin to become an artificial reef and help the ecosystem.
The Navy provided the largest vessel intentionally sunk to become an artificial reef when the 888-foot aircraft carrier USS Oriskany
was sunk 21 miles off the coast of Pensacola, Fla.