JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The USNS 1st Lt. Harry L. Martin crashed into the Mathews bridge in Jacksonville and shut it down indefinitely. Action News has learned the ship has been around since 1980.
The ship was built as a commercial container ship named TARAGO in Germany and was later purchased by the Navy in the mid-1990s. Historic reports show the ship underwent a conversion to a maritime prepositioning ship in Jacksonville and was renamed 1st Lt. Harry L. Martin.
[Related story: Mathews Bridge closed indefinitely]
The name comes from U.S. Marine Corps Reserve First Lieutenant Harry L. Martin who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his work in Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands on March 26, 1945.
The Harry L. Martin carries 27 civilian crew members and 12 military technicians. The ship goes at a speed of 21 knots and has one propeller.
It was on its way from Blount Island to the North Florida Shipyard.