The rusty remains of a Higgins boat from the Second World War—dubbed “Ghost Boat” by officials—started to surface from Lake Shasta’s shallows last fall. This boat was used to ferry soldiers into combat and to foreign shores. This year, levels have fallen sufficiently for a complete excavation of the vessel.
But it’s unclear how it got into California’s biggest reservoir, where it had been submerged for years.
US Forest Service employees with the Shasta-Trinity national forest noted in a Sunday morning Facebook post, along with images of the historic find perched on the cracked, dried dirt of the arid lakebed, “The situation of its sinking remains a mystery.” The Attack Transport USS Monrovia, which served as General George Patton’s headquarters during the Sicilian occupation in 1943, is indicated by numbers painted along the boat’s ramp.
The ship was supposedly deployed in the assault of Tarawa, when it “sank in shallow water during that invasion” but was subsequently rescued, according to authorities. Eisenhower was apparently on board at the time. It eventually participated in six other D-Day invasions in the Pacific. According to NavSource, a volunteer-run history website, the ship was classified as an assault transport in 1943 and gained seven combat stars during the conflict before being sold for scrap in 1969.
However, the fate of the USS Monrovia and its famous past do nothing to explain how the small Higgins boat ended itself at the bottom of Lake Shasta after fighting in Europe. Currently, it is in route to a Nebraska museum where specialists will try to preserve it and give it a “weathered ‘battle weary appearance” before it is put on display.
The boat is only the most recent in a string of odd discoveries dug out from the mud in western rivers that are drying up. Along with three sets of human remains that might be connected to gangland killings, another watercraft connected to the Second World War was found in Lake Mead, the biggest reservoir in the US.
The climate problem, which has increased strain on diminishing water supplies, is also predicted to make the drought worse in the upcoming years. The US Drought Monitor has classified almost half of the American west as being in extreme drought, and academics are worried that there is little prospect for a rainy season strong enough to counteract the protracted spells of dryness.
It’s possible that additional secrets may surface from the muck. Officials are still attempting to put together the tale of the Lake Shasta Ghost Boat.
They said, “There is much to learn about its past, including clearly its time spent on Shasta Lake. It’s very amazing how it came out of the lake with so many tales to tell.
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