The U.S. Navy disposes of decommissioned ships by selling them to other countries, converting them to scrap, sinking them to create artificial reefs or converting them into floating museums. Disposal typically takes place after a period of mothball status. Some ships may sit idle for decades before being disposed of.
The decommissioning process allows for ships to be rapidly brought back to combat readiness. The U.S. Navy decommissioned a significant number of ships in the period immediately following World War II. Held in reserve fleets, several of these vessels were brought back to active status during the Korean War. In September 2015, the navy retired the U.S.S. Simpson, the last U.S. ship to sink a foreign war vessel.