After nearly a century of ambiguity and a profound sense of loss, the Conestoga’s disappearance no longer is a mystery,” said Manson Brown, assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and deputy NOAA administrator. “We hope that this discovery brings the families of its lost crew some measure of closure and we look forward to working with the Navy to protect this historic shipwreck and honor the crew who paid the ultimate price for their service to the country.”On March 25, 1921, Conestoga departed the Golden Gate en route to Tutuila, American Samoa via Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
When Conestoga failed to reach Hawaii by its anticipated arrival date the Navy mounted a massive air and sea search around the Hawaiian Islands, the tug’s destination. Nearly two months later, on May 17, a merchant vessel found a battered lifeboat with the letter “C” on its bow off the Mexican coast leading to a search there.For months, the ship’s mysterious disappearance gripped newspapers across the country. Unable to locate the ship or wreckage, the Navy declared Conestoga and its crew lost on June 30, 1921. This was the last U.S. Navy ship to be lost without a trace in peacetime
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