The ship that returned the first unknown soldier from France after the Graet War is in danger.
..."The USS Olympia, a one-of-a-kind steel cruiser that returned home to a hero's welcome after a history-changing victory in the Spanish-American War, is a proud veteran fighting what may be its final battle.
"Time and tides are conspiring to condemn the weathered old warrior to a fate two wars failed to inflict. Without a major refurbishment to its aging steel skin, the Olympia either will sink at its moorings on the Delaware River, be sold for scrap, or be scuttled for an artificial reef just off Cape May, N.J., about 90 miles south.
The 5,500-ton Olympia's caretakers monitor every inch of its deteriorating lower hull and deck, already covered with hundreds of patches. Independent inspectors have concluded that the ship could decay to a point beyond saving within a few years if nothing is done.
"It's an absolute national disgrace. It's an appalling situation," said naval historian Lawrence Burr, author of a book on Olympia. "She is a national symbol, and she marks critical points in time both in America's development as a country and the Navy's emergence as a global power." More...
USS Olympia 1899