Honda (Pedernales) Point, California, Disaster, 8 September 1923
Disposition of Hulls of Wrecked Destroyers
POINT ARGUELLO RADIO COMPASS STATION
About 3 miles south scene of wrecks
16 October, 1923, Oct. 19, 1923
From: Lieutenant Charles F. Osborn, (CC), US Navy
Officer-in-Charge at Scene of Destroyer Wrecks.
TO: Commander, Destroyer Squadrons, Battle Fleet.
SUBJECT: Hulls of Wrecked Destroyers, disposition of.
Reference: (a) My letter CFO-24 of 8 Oct. 1923, to Comdesrons.
1. Upon completion of salvaging operations by the Merritt Chapman and Scott Company, it is recommended that the seven hulls of the Wrecked Destroyers, off Point Pedernales, California, be destroyed by dynamite. The work could be done either by the Navy, or by private concerns.
2. This recommendation is made for three reasons:
(a) To remove all traces of the hulls from view so that the whole affair will be quickly forgotten by the Public. Daily visitors come here on all available trains to see the Wrecks and get souvenirs. Their remarks about the affair is seldom charitable.
(b) The following ships already have broken up, and have disappeared from sight; the Delphy, the Fuller, and the Young. The Nicholas has broken in two parts, the forebody being on the rocks about sixty percent submerged, the afterbody being about fifty percent sunk. The afterbody is listed to a starboard forty-fve degrees, and can not sink any more on account of being on the rocky bottom. The S.P. Lee has increased her list to forty degrees to port and she is rolling badly in the surf. If the heavy surf continues several days, she will capsize, but will sink out of sight on account of the shallow water. The Woodbury increased her list to fifty degrees to port and will capsize as soon as she slips off the support rock abreast her port side. The Chauncey is pounding and today lost two smokestacks. Were the Chauncey to break and capsize, she would not sink because of the shallow water. The forward section of the Young is breaking up and a part of the bow worked into the beach today.
(c) It is probable that the sunken hulls will break to pieces, as the Young has, and that these parts will work into the beach. This is objectionable because the hulls will be combed by the visitors who may find dangerous as well as confidential materials.
3. It is requested that if this recommendation meets with your approval, that we be so informed that we can be governed accordingly, in the matter of removal of materials.
(sgd) CHARLES F. OSBORN
Comdt. 12th Nav. Dist.
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