It was the first of its kind -- not quite 'building, not quite a ship. USS Recruit (TDE-1 and TFFG-1) the Navy's first non-ship, was originally a commissioned vessel and observed traditional Naval shipboard procedures like all other vessels. Any
sailor who ever served duty on board this haze gray ship awash in concrete, fondly remembers his first 'request permission to come aboard.'
Affectionately known as USS Neversail, the Recruit was a two-thirds scale mock-up and served as a Sea Daddy to new recruits. When completed in 1949, it was 225 long, had a
24' 4" beam and a 41-foot mast.
During construction, sailors in NTC's seamanship division supervised the rigging with standard Navy fittings obtained from salvage and mothballed ships. The Recruit was commissioned
by Rear Adm. Wilder D. Baker, Commandant, Eleventh Naval District, on July 27, 1'949. A commission pennant was broken and the ensign and Union Jack was hoisted.
Recruit served as a school for all recruits going through basic seamanship indoctrination. The ship's deck was an exact replica of what a
sailor could expect in the fleet. The Recruit had cleats, chocks and mooring lines, and operated as any standard Navy ship. Sailors learned rnarlinspike seamanship, ground tackle operation, cargo booms, deck fittings,
life boat handling and signal equipment.
Besides the regular classrooms, a company of recruits would stay on board from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. each night to polish watchstanding skills.
The recruit went into "drydock" for three months in 1954 for an overhaul and minor repairs. For almost 18 years, the Recruit served the Navy, but in 1967, something unusual happened:
automation got the better hand which marked the end of Recruit's commission.
Navy civilian employees making a card-index inventory of vessels in the San Diego
area found themselves baffled by one particular card, which, when placed through the computer for classification, was continually rejected.
The computer determined that the ship was neither afloat nor tied up ashore. It was not in drydock, not undergoing repairs or rehauling, not in 'mothball' and was crewless! The ship had no boilers, engines or screws, and when they discovered the computer could not classify USS Recruit as a commissioned vessel, it was decommissioned on March 7,