USS Recruit (TFFG-1)
International Call Sign: November-Romeo-Tango-Charlie
USS Recruit (TDE-1, later TFFG-1) was a landlocked "dummy" training ship of the United States Navy, located at the Naval Training Center in the Point Loma area of San Diego. She was built to scale, two-thirds the size of a Dealey-class destroyer escort, and was commissioned on July 27, 1949. Recruit was commissioned for 18 years, for much of that period the only landlocked ship to hold that status in the U.S. Navy.
"Sailing" on a sea of concrete at the Naval Training Center, she assisted with the training of over 50,000 new recruits per year, providing an education in the fundamentals of shipboard drills and procedures, using standard deck and bridge gear like that found on all naval vessels, including lifelines, accommodation ladders, signal halyards, searchlights, the engine order telegraph and the helm. However, due to her landlocked status, Recruit lacked an engine or screw, and therefore was affectionately nicknamed the "USS Neversail." (The same nickname, "The Neversail," was also applied to the landlocked "ship" USS Commodore at NTC Bainbridge in Maryland.) Reflecting her dual identity as both a ship and a building, she was also known as Building 430, located on Geary Drive between Evans and Chauncey roads.
Recruit was decommissioned in March 1967, due to the inability to classify the unique ship in a computerized registry of Navy vessels. However she was later recommissioned in 1982, and refurbished to look like an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate. Commissioned or otherwise, she served continuously as a training facility from her construction in 1949 until the base was closed by the BRAC commission in 1997.
The Recruit still stands, currently unused, with the hope that she will someday become a maritime museum. She is included in the Naval Training Center's listing on the National Register of Historic Places. She now stands adjacent to a retail area of Liberty Station, as the redeveloped base is known, and can be seen from North Harbor Drive. She appears to be the only surviving example of the Navy's landlocked ships, or "landships". Her predecessor USS Recruit, a wooden "battleship" built in Union Square in New York City in 1917, was dismantled in 1920. The USS Commodore, located at the United States Naval Training Center, Bainbridge in Maryland, was dismantled when the base closed in the 1970s. The USS Bluejacket, located at Naval Training Center Orlando in Florida, was also dismantled when this base closed March 31, 1995.