The USS Conestoga Mystery is Finally Solved

On March 8, 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, a huge Boeing 777 aircraft, disappeared from radar screens and has since been presumed lost at sea. Only one part of the over 300 million components that come together to make up the aircraft has ever been found despite the fact that many of them, and the passengers’ baggage, should float. The families of the 239 who presumably died when the plane went down have been left wondering what happened and without closure. If the disappearance at sea of the USS Conestoga is any indication, the peace of mind and closure these families so strongly desire may never come in their lifetime.

The Story of the USS Conestoga

The USS Conestoga was a 420 ton, 170 foot long ocean-going tugboat in service with the US Navy. The ship was first commissioned on November 10, 1917. It proudly served the Navy doing such things as carrying out towing duties and running supplies along the Eastern Coast of the USA when it first went into service. After that, the Conestoga escorted convoys to Bermuda and the Azores in case any of the ships happened to break down on the voyage. She also served as a NY City harbor tug briefly in 1919 before being reassigned to the west coast.

After being in San Diego for three months, she set out on her ill-fated voyage on March 25, 1921 with a load of coal in tow – bound for Pearl Harbor. The 56 crew members on board were never heard from again and the only trace of the vessel that was ever found was one of its lifeboats that had washed up on the shores of Mexico.

The USS Conestoga Crew in 1921
The USS Conestoga Crew in 1921

It was not until 2009 that the ship was discovered among other wrecks at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean about 30 miles from the California Coast in an area known as the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. It was listed as an unknown wreck until it was positively identified in March of 2016 and a formal announcement was made that the ship had officially been found.  No one as of this moment has any idea what happened to the ship that caused it to sink. It was found some 2000 miles from where it was thought lost and almost within sight of the California Coast.

It all brings to light the difficulty of finding MH370. If it took almost 100 years to find a ship that went down not far off a major coastline in a known ship graveyard, it could be almost impossible to find an aircraft where we have little if any indication to know approximately where it went down.

The USS Conestoga disappearance highlights just how difficult it can be to find a vessel when it disappears in the vast oceans and seas that our world is made up of. It also highlights the need for a better way to track aircraft and naval vessels as they transit the world’s oceans and seas. It seems pretty hard to believe that in the year 2016, when we could track the whereabouts of a $10 cell phone, that we could even fathom not knowing the whereabouts of a $250 million jumbo jet. Stranger even yet is the fact that, at present, the technology has not gotten any better. Let’s hope it does not take another MH370 incident to get the FAA and other agencies more involved in tracking aircraft and ships as they transit vast bodies of water.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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