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Trident U.S.S. San Diego Book

A shipwreck is a time capsule: a fragment of history buried in the sea, a temporary repository of the remnants of a bygone age. The wood or steel hull is a transient abode that precariously extends the life of man's handiwork only slightly beyond the date of disaster and human suffering. This does not mean that the objects contained within are granted eternal life, for the sea is ever changing, ever destroying; it means only that oft sought relics have been granted a slight reprieve from obliteration. To preserve a flag one does not hang it on a pole during a full gale: it is folded and packed away safely. One does not store precious china on an exposed mountain ridge where it is subject to rock falls, summer sun, and winter snow: it is kept in a glass case under controlled conditions. An artifact must be preserved from the elements of nature, not consigned to its capriciousness; the longer it is constrained to these wild forces the less likely it is to survive intact, to be found and appreciated by future generations. On July 19, 1918 such a time capsule was born. When the San Diego sank within sight of American shores, after striking a mine laid by the German U-boat U-156, she relinquished all claims to the title of warship and became instead a vast storehouse of marine equipment, naval stores, munitions, and the personal effects of over a thousand distressed sailors. She was a museum in the making; items then not worth the cost of salvage have slowly evolved into nautical antiques precious to the present-day generation. The San Diego is a time machine: a shortcut to 1918, a slice of Americana. Once at war with the forces of man, she now fights a never ending battle against gradual but inevitable erosion by the chemical soup in which she is immersed. To fully understand the San Diego we must travel back through the years not just to the moment of her birth, when she was christened the California, but to the time of her conception, for, although she lived in the twentieth century, she was a product of nineteenth century naval strategy. Thus begin the history of Armored Cruiser Number 6. This book is copiously illustrated with a wealth of black and white historical photographs and with numerous color underwater photographs taken by the author during his many explorations of the vast interior.


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