USS Pugh

USS Sgt. Major Wm. Pugh. Y.F.R. Ship

( Yard Freighter Refrigeration Ship )

To give Her Full Title

Length 160 Ft. Beam 35 Ft

Powered by Twin CMC Cleveland Engines Driving Twin Screws

She makes a good shallow dive as she rests on a even keel at a maximum depth of 16m. If you drop down on to the bow where  you can see the anchor chain and winch. Moving aft you can drop down into the first hold. The refrigeration pipes are clearly visible running vertically up and down all four walls. There is a swim through to the second hold which looks identical to the first. Exiting the second hold you see in front of the bridge a line of winch and capstans across the ship, which would be used to load and unload the supplies. Under the bridge is what is probably  the captain’s cabin and crew toilets. There is a nice small engine room accessible down a narrow entrance. This engine room is small and is best with just two divers at a time in it, four is a crowd. Making  your way up and over the bridge that is covered in coloured coral. The top of the ship is at just over 5m covered in brightly coloured coral and swarming with small tropical coloured fish. This is one of, if not, the most interesting safety stops you will ever do at the end of a dive.

USS Pugh was not in Truk Lagoon during Operation Hailstone. She arrived some time later. So how did she come to be here? What was she doing here? Sue did a little  research.

Some time after the war USS Pugh was given or lent the Philippine Government. Later on in the ‘Marcos’ lead era, it was used to transport eleven tons of gold collected clandestinely to Tinian Island, in the Northern Mariansa Islands. After arriving she off loaded the cargo to smaller waiting boats. They took the cargo to a large waiting aircraft, on an airfild were large B29’s had flown from, at the finish of the war against Japan. The aircraft flew the gold to Switzerland and onto volts. That have yet to be located.

The crew then proceeded with the ship to Truk Lagoon. Leaving the ship and returning home. After sometime the locals realised the Pugh  had been dumped  there to slowly sink, some of the locals towed her down to a location off the former  seaplane base and took what they could off her, before she sank. Maybe there is a few chips of gold left in the  bottom of her  holds  under the silt?

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