Wilkes Barre-Bow Section
24° 29.094' N
81° 33.202' W
May 12, 1972
RECOMMENDED MINIMUM TRAINING
The U.S.S. Wilkes Barre, CL-103, was a Cleveland class light cruiser.
Dec. 24th,1943: Built and Launched by the New York Shipbuilding Corp. Her armament consisted of twelve 6-inch guns, twelve 5-inch guns and a battery of 40 and 20-mm anti-aircraft guns.
July 1st, 1944: commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, with Captain Robert L. Porter, Jr., in command and saw quite a bit of action during World War II.
Feb. 16th, 1945: screened aircraft carriers, as their planes bombed Tokyo
Feb. 21st, 1945: called in to assist in the shore bombardment of Iwo Jima
Mar. 19th, 1945: was steaming east of Okinawa when gunners on the Wilkes Barre bagged her first enemy aircraft, a Judy dive bomber
April 1st, 1945: supported the largest American amphibious assault in history, the invasion of Okinawa
Jan. 13th, 1946, the Wilkes Barre sailed for the United States. She had received four battle stars for her World War II service and had shot down seven enemy aircraft.
Oct. 9th, 1947: Decommissioned and placed in Philadelphia
May 12th, 1972: was used as the subject for underwater explosive tests. The explosion broke the ship in two.
Her stern sank quickly, but her forward section needed an additional scuttling charge to send her to the ocean's floor.
Both bow and stern sections remain intact in 220 feet of water where she was intentionally placed so as not to be a hazard to navigation. Her stern sits on an even keel, and her bow rests on its starboard side. Because of her deep resting spot, the Wilkes Barre can only be dove by very experienced deep divers. Her superstructure can be reached at 145 feet. This huge wreck abounds with marine life, artifacts and a fascinating history.