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During July 2006, the 20th multi-national Rim of the Pacific exercise concluded July 26 after a month of intensive warfare training conducted off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. The Coalition Force was comprised of eight nations, 35 ships, 160 aircraft & 19,000 personnel. During the last phase of this exercise, five ships from the reserve fleet were used as target ships.
The USS/USNS MARS final assignment was as a target ship for this operation. She took quite a pounding from missiles before finally giving up. Mars was sunk on 15 July 2006 at 1622 hours in 2,750 fathoms of water, 54 miles from land.
Efforts to insure that we obtained pictures of the sinking were in the works weeks before the exercise started. RADM Jim Miller 72-74 made contact with RADM Jack Prendergast, Office of the Commander Pacific Fleet, for his assistance. With the help from RADM Prendergast, we received a video of the last 45 seconds that Mars was above water. We extend very special thank you to RADM John J. Prendergast for the extra effort in obtaining this video of our ship.
The former crew members of the USS MARS AFS 1