|The USS Wilkes-Barre was
a 608 foot Cleveland Class Light Cruiser of 10,000 tons. Built 1942
Wilkes-Barre fought in many World War II Pacific battles including Iwo
Jima. Decorated with four battle stars at war’s end, she was
decommissioned in 1947. In 1972 the USS Wilkes-Barre was utilized by the
Naval Air Development Center in explosive shock tests off Key West, FL.
The underwater detonation broke Wilkes-Barre’s keel and split the vessel
Now located in 255 fsw of water the Wilkes-Barre is a tremendous wreck that takes several dives to fully explore both sections. The bow lays on it’s starboard side with her 8" turrets laying in the sand on the deck side. The stern is upright and extends to nearly 160 fsw from the surface. The 8"and 5" turrets that line the deck and clear water make the USS Wilkes-Barre one of the most spectacular Naval wrecks in the world.
(l) USS Wilkes-Barre with broken keel; (below) ship settles; (r) split sections start to sink.
(All underwater images courtesy of SeaWolf Productions)
(l) the stern deck guns; (r) Mikey swimming over the deck
(l) anti-aircraft gun battery; (r) between the stern gun turrets
(l) aft view of the stern gun turret; (r) the silent guns of the USS Wilkes Barre