LEE COUNTY, Fla. - The fourth of July is a time to celebrate those who have fought for our freedom. The U.S.S. Mohawk served during World War II and one year ago, it was placed off the coast of Southwest Florida under the Gulf of Mexico. Advanced diver and Skytracker Meteorologist Katie Walls takes you 90-feet under to see how the Mohawk is settling.
One year ago, the U.S.S. Mohawk began her final tour of duty as the first scuttled ship dedicated to United States veterans. Now the ship is a thriving habitat for marine life and the number one dive site in Southwest Florida.
"If you take a look at it, what was before bare metal is now becoming part of the ocean," said Environmental Specialist for Lee County Mike Campbell.
From colorful cocoa damsel fish to the critically endangered Goliath grouper, marine life aboard the 165-foot Coast Guard cutter has flourished in her 52 weeks on the gulf floor.
Advanced divers exploring the reef between now and September 15th will not only find diverse sea life, but an art gallery unlike any other. Inspired by her service and victory, Austrian photographer Andreas Franke selected the Mohawk for the third installment of his Sinking World Series. By superimposing models in period clothing onto underwater images of the ship, Andreas transformed the memorial into a masterpiece.
Covered in barnacles and algae, a 50-caliber gun on the ship's bow reminds us of the Mohawk's service in World War II. She launched a total of 14 attacks on German submarines and the Mohawk was the last ship to radio General Eisenhower the day before the Normandy invasion, letting him know the weather would be clear enough to proceed. She was decommissioned in 1948.
Sixty-five years later, she's still serving but now belongs to the Gulf of Mexico.
If you're not a diver but still want to see the artwork currently displayed on the Mohawk, the images will be shown at the Lee County Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers for three weeks in October.