only US Navy Ship never in the water, though it was in drydock once for repair.
(Photo submitted by Alan F. E. Thiese)
It was the first of its kind -- not quite 'building, not
quite a ship. USS Recruit (TDE-1 and TFFG-1) the Navy's first non-ship, was
originally a commissioned vessel and observed traditional Naval shipboard
procedures like all other vessels. Any Sailor who ever served duty on board this
haze gray ship awash in concrete, fondly remembers his first 'request permission
to come aboard.
Affectionately known as USS Neversail, the Recruit was a two-thirds scale
mock-up and served as a Sea Daddy to new recruits. When completed in 1949, it
was 225 long, had a 24-foot, four inch beam and a 41-foot mast.
During construction, Sailors in NTC's seamanship division supervised the rigging
with standard Navy fittings obtained from salvage and mothballed ships. The
Recruit was commissioned Rear Adm. Wilder D. Baker, commandant, Eleventh Naval
District, on July 27, 1949. A commission pennant was broken and the ensign and
Union Jack was hoisted.
It served as a school for all recruits going through basic seamanship
indoctrination. The ship's deck was an exact replica of what a Sailor could
expect in the fleet. The Recruit had cleats, chocks and mooring lines and
operated as any standard Navy ship. Sailors learned marlinspike seamanship,
ground tackle operation, cargo booms, deck fittings, lift boat handling and
Besides the regular classrooms, a company of recruits would stay on board from 8
p.m. to 8 a.m. each night to polish watchstanding skills.