The USS Cabildo (LSD-16) Last contribution to the Nation's

defense was to serve as a missile target.



In the mid-1980’s the EX USS Cabildo was acquired from Naval Civil Engineering Lab (NCEL) at Port Hueneme by Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division. In December 1983 the ship was environmentally cleaned and utilized as a Fleet target.

Picture taken 12/03/1983
In this photo the ship was apparently being used to test harpoonex missiles and the arrows point to two entrance holes pierced in the hull. The photo footer below lists the air crew so we can assume the harpoon missiles were air launched. Note also the two cameras mounted on the port side to photograph the tests. The 2630N by 12100W location on the photo footer below is about 150 miles west of Isla Guadalupe off the mid coast of Baja California.

On its last mission the ship was towed from San Diego Naval Station and set adrift West of San Nicolas Island, located approximately 80 to 100 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, where it successfully completed inert weapons impacts. On attempt to recover tow in high seas, broke tow and drifted to San Nicolas Island were it grounded on the southwest side of the Island. On the next morning salvage tugs attempted to pull her off with no success. All salvageable equipment, externally mounted generator and fuel tanks were lifted off via helicopter and placed on the Island.

The grand old lady was reclaimed by the sea and gracefully entered her final resting place with the dignity of having served her country valiantly.

Information on the last mission furnished by Senior Managers, Naval Air Center, Weapons Division
The USS Tortuga (LSD-26) also ended her service as a target and was wreaked against another California Channel Island, San Miguel Island. The following link is to recent photos of the Cabildo wreak on San Nicholas.
  The Cabildo Today


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USS Cabildo (LSD-16) Association Website - Last Revision August 26, 2012
This page is maintained by Warren Gammeter <>.