Dubbed the “Ghost Boat” by officials, the decayed carcass of a second world war Higgins boat, used to transport troops into battle and on to beaches overseas, began to emerge from the shallows in Lake Shasta last fall. Levels have sunk low enough this year to excavate the craft fully.
But how it ended up in California’s largest reservoir, buried in the depths for decades, is uncertain.
“The circumstance of its sinking remains a mystery,” US Forest Service officials with Shasta-Trinity national forest wrote in a Sunday morning Facebook post, including photos of the historic find perched atop dried cracked earth of the desiccated lakebed. Numbers painted along the boat’s ramp show that it was once assigned to the Attack Transport USS Monrovia, used as General George Patton’s headquarters in the Sicilian occupation in 1943.
“Eisenhower also was on this ship at that time, and it went on to a further six D-Day invasions in the Pacific,” officials said in the post, noting that it was reportedly used in the invasion of Tarawa and that it “sank in shallow water during that invasion”, but was later salvaged. Classified as an attack transport in 1943, the ship earned seven battle stars during the war, according to NavSource, a volunteer-run history site, but was sold for scrap in 1969.