A reserve fleet
is a collection of naval vessels of all types that are fully equipped for service but are not currently needed, and thus partially or fully decommissioned. A reserve fleet is informally said to be "in mothballs"; an equivalent expression in unofficial modern U.S. naval usage is "ghost fleet". In earlier times, and especially in British usage, these ships were said to be laid up in Ordinary.
The James River Reserve Fleet consists of about 60 decommissioned U.S. Navy auxiliaries and warships anchored in Virginia's James River near Newport News. The ships are gradually being towed away for scrapping. From 2001 to March 2005, 31 were disposed of.
A similar fleet, the National Defense Reserve Fleet, is anchored in Suisun Bay near Vallejo, California, and has similarly been reduced. This location is known for hosting the Glomar Explorer after its recovery of portions of a Soviet submarine during the Cold War before its subsequent reactivation as a minerals exploration ship. Also present is the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61).
Although not technically a reserve fleet, the decommissioned aircraft carriers USS Forrestal and USS Saratoga are berthed pierside at the Newport naval complex. The battleship USS Iowa was also berthed here following her decommissioning prior to being relocated under tow to Suisun Bay.
A third fleet of WW II-era ships is anchored in the Neches River near Beaumont, Texas.
The Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility holds several dozen inactive warships, including the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan (LHA-2), Ticonderoga class cruisers, Spruance class destroyers, Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates, numerous supply ships, and a submarine.
The Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, located next to Bremerton, Washington hosts, among its other ships, three aircraft carriers: USS Ranger, USS Independence, USS Constellation, and the cruiser USS Long Beach. It is also the home to almost two dozen submarines and numerous supply ships.
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