USS Searcher (AGR-4)

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USS Searcher (AGR-4).jpg
USS Searcher (AGR-4), underway, 9 September 1960, location unknown.
History
US flag 48 stars.svgUnited States
Name:James W. Wheeler
Namesake: James W. Wheeler
Owner: War Shipping Administration (WSA)
Operator: Calmar Steamship Co.
Ordered: as type (EC2-S-C5) hull, MC hull 2338
Builder: J.A. Jones Construction, Panama City, Florida [1]
Cost: $1,127,547 [2]
Yard number: 79
Way number: 1
Laid down: 11 December 1944
Launched: 23 January 1945
Sponsored by: Mrs. R. D. Turnage
Completed: 5 February 1945
Identification:
Fate: Placed in the, James River Reserve Fleet, Lee Hall, Virginia, 29 October 1945
Status: Withdrawn from reserve fleet and leased to Grace Lines Inc., 4 February 1947
Fate: Placed in the, National Defense Reserve Fleet, Wilmington, North Carolina, 1 October 1947
Status: Acquired by US Navy, 15 September 1954
Flag of the United States.svgUnited States
Name:Searcher
Commissioned: 2 April 1955
Decommissioned: 1 July 1965
Reclassified: Guardian-class radar picket ship
Refit: Charleston Naval Shipyard, Charleston, South Carolina
Stricken: 1 July 1965
Identification:
  • Hull symbol: YAGR-4 (1956–1958)
  • Hull symbol: AGR-4 (1958–1970)
Fate: Placed in National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River Reserve Fleet, Jones Point, New York
Status: Sold for scrapping, delivered, 31 May 1970
General characteristics [3]
Class and type:
Tonnage:
Displacement:
Length:
  • 441 feet 6 inches (135 m) oa
  • 416 feet (127 m) pp
  • 427 feet (130 m) lwl
Beam: 57 feet (17 m)
Draft: 27 ft 9.25 in (8.4646 m)
Installed power:
  • 2 × Oil fired 450 °F (232 °C) boilers, operating at 220 psi (1,500 kPa)
  • 2,500 hp (1,900 kW)
Propulsion:
Speed: 11.5 knots (21.3  km/h; 13.2  mph)
Capacity: 490,000 cubic feet (13,875 m3) (bale)
Complement:
Armament:
General characteristics (US Navy refit) [4]
Class and type: Guardian-class radar picket ship
Capacity:
  • 443,646 US gallons (1,679,383 l; 369,413 imp gal) (fuel oil)
  • 68,267 US gallons (258,419 l; 56,844 imp gal) (diesel)
  • 15,082 US gallons (57,092 l; 12,558 imp gal) (fresh water)
  • 1,326,657 US gallons (5,021,943 l; 1,104,673 imp gal) (fresh water ballast)
Complement:
  • 13 officers
  • 138 enlisted
Armament: 2 × 3 inches (76 mm)/50 caliber guns

USS Searcher (YAGR/AGR-4) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. She was obtained from the National Defense Reserve Fleet and reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

Contents

Construction

Searcher (YAGR-4) was laid down on 11 December 1944, under a Maritime Commission (MARCOM) contract, MC hull 2338, as the Liberty Ship James W. Wheeler, by J.A. Jones Construction, Panama City, Florida. She was launched on 23 January 1945; sponsored by Mrs. R. D. Turnage; and delivered on 5 February 1945 to the Calmar Steamship Company. [5] [2]

Service history

She was acquired by the Navy from the Maritime Administration on 15 September 1954, and reclassified YAGR-4 in August 1954. She was converted to a radar picket ship at the Charleston Naval Shipyard, Charleston, South Carolina, and commissioned Searcher on 2 April 1955, Lieutenant Commander James Albert Paulick, in command. [5] [4]

Searcher departed Charleston, 16 May 1955, for Newport, Rhode Island, where, after shakedown, she reported for duty with the seaward extension of America's early warning defense system. She reported on station for her first patrol on 5 July 1955. [5]

Fitted with sophisticated electronic search and tracking equipment, Searcher could locate, track, and report enemy aircraft at great distances, and control high-speed interceptor aircraft in event of attack. She also carried out weather reporting duties during her three-to-four-week-long cruises. [5]

On 13 November 1955, Searcher was damaged by an engine room fire which burned for six and a half hours before being extinguished with the aid of two other ships. Her patrols were otherwise uneventful. She was reclassified AGR-4 effective 28 September 1958; and, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, she operated at sea for 60 out of 67 days. [5]

On March 1964 she lost her screw at sea while steaming in a heavy gale 450 miles ESE of Cape Cod and was later taken in tow by a US Navy tug. [see:www.classypages.com/searcher/lostscrew.htm]

Decommissioning

On 1 July 1965, Searcher was decommissioned, struck from the Navy List and transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD). She was laid up in the Hudson River Reserve Fleet until sold for scrapping on 7 August 1970, to the North American Smelting Co., Wilmington, Delaware. [5]

Military awards and honors

Searcher's crew was eligible for the following medals:

See also

Related Research Articles

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USS <i>Picket</i> (YAGR-7)

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USS <i>Koiner</i> (DE-331)

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USS <i>Luna</i> (AKS-7) Liberty ship of WWII

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USS <i>Guardian</i> (YAGR-1)

USS Guardian (AGR/YAGR-1) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. Her task was to act as part of the radar defenses of the United States in the Cold War, serving until 1965.

USS <i>Lookout</i> (YAGR-2)

USS Lookout (YAGR/AGR-2) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Skywatcher</i> (AGR-3)

USS Skywatcher (YAGR/AGR-3) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. She was converted into a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Scanner</i> (AGR-5)

USS Scanner (AGR/YAGR-5) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1955. She was obtained from the National Defense Reserve Fleet and reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Locator</i> (AGR-6)

USS Locator (AGR/YAGR-6) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1955. She was obtained from the National Defense Reserve Fleet and reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Interceptor</i> (AGR-8)

USS Interceptor (AGR-8/YAGR-8) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship acquired by the US Navy in 1955, from the "mothballed" reserve fleet. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Investigator</i> (AGR-9)

USS Investigator (AGR/YAGR-9) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Outpost</i> (AGR-10)

USS Outpost (AGR/YAGR-10) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1956. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Protector</i> (AGR-11)

USS Protector (AGR/YAGR-11) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1957. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Vigil</i> (AGR-12)

USS Vigil (AGR/YAGR-12) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1956. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Interdictor</i> (AGR-13)

USS Interdictor (AGR/YAGR-13) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1954. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Interpreter</i> (AGR-14)

USS Interpreter (AGR-14) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1957. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Tracer</i> (AGR-15)

USS Tracer (AGR-15) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1957. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

USS <i>Watchman</i> (AGR-16)

USS Watchman (AGR-16) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship, acquired by the US Navy in 1958. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.

<i>Guardian</i>-class radar picket ship

The Guardian-class radar picket ships were a class of ocean radar picket ships, converted 1954–1958 from World War II Liberty ships acquired by the U.S. Navy. Their task was to act as part of the radar defenses of the United States in the Cold War, serving until 1965.

References

  1. J.A. Panama City 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 MARCOM.
  3. Davies 2004, p. 23.
  4. 1 2 3 Navsource 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 DANFS.

Bibliography