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Research Technical Report

A Rare Visit To Sunken Treasure

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (2007)

2006 Annual Report, pages 13-15


Sixteen years ago, at the urging of David Packard himself, MBARI found, photographed, and recovered artifacts from the wreck of the USS Macon (Figure 15), a U.S. Navy dirigible that was lost during severe weather offshore of Point Sur on February 12, 1935. This flying aircraft carrier crashed while en route from the Channel Islands to its home base in Mountain View, California. Packard's interest was personal. He recalled that as a student at Stanford University, he and his friends would sit out on the roof of their fraternity house to watch as this behemoth was launched from its massive hangar at Moffett airfield. This was not the "Goodyear Blimp." The sky would darken overhead and the ground would rumble. It was as though the Titanic had taken to the skies. It was no surprise, therefore, that MBARI jumped at the chance to join with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Program to embark on a return expedition to the submerged wreck site of the rigid airship USS Macon for the purpose of assessing its current state and what might be done to preserve this important piece of American heritage.

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Reviewed: April 11, 2024
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