Skip to main content
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page

Research Technical Report

Initial Archaeological Survey of the ex-USS Independence (CVL-22)

Delgado, J.P., K. Elliott, F. Cantelas, and R.V. Schwemmer (Feb 2016)

Journal of Maritime Archaeology 11(1):9-24.


The Boeing Company, collaborating with NOAA to address innovative ways to make ocean observations, provided their autonomous underwater vehicle, Echo Ranger, to conduct the first deep-water archaeological survey of the scuttled aircraft carrier USS Independence in the waters of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in March 2015. While a preliminary effort, and not comprehensive, the survey confirmed that a sonar feature (previously not proven to be an archaeological feature) charted at the location was Independence, and provided details on the condition of the wreck. At the same time, new information from declassified government reports provided more detail on Independence's use as a naval test craft for radiological decontamination as well as its use as a repository for radioactive materials at the time of its scuttling in 1951. The wreck is historically significant, but also of archaeological significance as an artifact of the early years of the atomic age and of the Cold War. This article summarizes Independence's contexts, its nuclear history, and the results of the survey of the wreck site.






Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

Take Our Survey | Privacy Statement | Site Disclaimer
National Marine Sanctuaries | National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |