I note that USS The Sullivans, a World War II destroyer named for the five Sullivan brothers who died aboard the cruiser USS Juneau in November 1942, has sprung several leaks and is in danger of sinking without extensive repairs. Stars and Stripes reports:
Keeping the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park from going under during the pandemic has been hard enough without also having to worry about keeping one of its star attractions afloat.
After losing 87% of its revenue because of COVID-19 closures and cancellations during the past year, the park recently discovered the destroyer USS The Sullivans taking on water and listing at its dock in Buffalo's inner harbor.
. . .
"She was built to last about 20 years. Destroyers by their very nature, are built with a very thin layer of steel because they've got to be fast and maneuverable," said Paul Marzello Sr., president and chief executive of the park. "Seventy-eight years is a long time to keep these ships in condition to be floating, especially when we want to use them as a museum piece and use them as an educational tool."
Crews from the military park couldn't immediately board the leaning vessel because the gangways had been damaged by a winter storm. When they did, they found that 15,000-20,000 gallons of water had poured in through three holes in its hull.
. . .
Emergency repairs are under way to pump out the water and plug the holes. Officials estimate it will cost $1 million to permanently repair a hull weakened and damaged by the freeze and thaw of decades of winters.
There's more at the link.
There are scores of historic US Navy vessels on display around the country, with many facing the same sort of maintenance challenges and financial issues to keep them afloat. Many are simply wearing out, and funds may not be available to keep them going, which would be tragic from an historical perspective. Better-known ships such as the battleship USS Texas (due to receive new hull plating from the waterline down in a twelve-month dockyard stay) and USS Olympia (Admiral Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898) will probably be saved. Others, like USS Batfish (a famous World War II submarine on display in Oklahoma) may not be so fortunate, because it's harder to raise the money needed to keep them in good repair.
Presently, the US Navy is not responsible for the upkeep of these historic vessels. Most are in the hands of private foundations. However, I can't help thinking that it might be a better expenditure of taxpayer funds to preserve at least some historic ships, rather than frittle the money away on endless entitlement programs that never solve anything. What say you, readers?