Pearl Harbor relic found in Baltimore basement

The 14,000-ton Naval Auxiliary Service collier Vestal was christened in 1908 and later was redisignated a repair ship in the Navy proper becoming USS Vestal (AR-4).


Vestal deployed “Over There” in 1918, serving in Queenstown, Ireland with the U.S. fleet during World War I then made her way to the Pacific where she was moored at berth F 7, off Ford Island, to provide services to USS Arizona during the battlewagon’s scheduled period of tender upkeep when the Japanese planes came buzzing into the harbor on that infamous Sunday morning.

Hit by two Japanese bombs of her own, Vestal was nearly pulverized by Arizona‘s magazine explosion. Listing, ablaze and heavily damaged, the old repair ship saved herself and her skipper, Commander Cassin Young, later came away with the MOH for his actions.

Her mooring quay is still a place of honor at Pearl to this day.


Remarkably, Vestal survived and went on to conduct forward repairs in the war zones of the South Pacific, keeping the battleships South Dakota and Washington; carriers Saratoga and Enterprise; cruisers Minneapolis, St. Louis, HMNZS Achilles, HMAS Hobart, San Francisco, and Pensacola among others in the fight and afloat at desperate times when their loss would have been a great blow to the war effort.

Decommissioned and stricken, she was sold  to breakers and disappeared in 1950.

Now, her bell has been rediscovered in the parsonage of a minister who bought it in Baltimore around 1955.


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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

One response to “Pearl Harbor relic found in Baltimore basement”

  1. Chuck says :

    I hope this bell finds it way home.

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