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USS Antares (AG-10) on 1 March 1923
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Class: ANTARES (AG-10)
Design EFC 1022
Displacement (tons): 4,800 light, 11,450 full
Dimensions (feet): 401.0' oa, 390.0' pp x 54.0' wl x 24.4' mn
Original Armament: None installed (1922)
Later armaments: 2-5"/51 4-3"/50 8-20mm (1942: AKS-3)
Complement 229 (1929)
Speed (kts.): 11.5
Propulsion (HP): 2,500
Machinery: Curtis geared turbines, 1 screw
||14 Nov 21
||American International SB
||3 Jul 18
||30 May 19
||23 Feb 22
||8 Nov 21
||American International SB
||18 Jul 18
||13 May 19
||30 Nov 21
||2 Aug 46
||25 Sep 46
||2 Aug 46
||10 Sep 47
||1 Apr 31
||30 Jun 40
||30 Jun 40
||30 Oct 47
These ships were products of the largest American mass-production merchant shipbuilding effort during World War I. Between December 1918 and November 1920 the shipyard at Hog Is., Pa., delivered 110 freighters to EFC Design 1022. Every one of these ships entered service after the end of the war and many soon ended up in the reserve fleet. The six ships of this type acquired by the Navy in November 1921 (including the four of the AK-13 class) had been allocated upon their completion by the Shipping Board to various commercial shipping firms for operation but by mid-1921 all had been returned and laid up.
By 1920 the Navy realized that many of its pre-war auxiliary vessels were reaching the end of their useful lives, that Congress would not provide appropriations for replacements, and that the Shipping Board had a large number of surplus vessels from its wartime building program that would fill the Navy's needs. In 1920 the Navy's lawyers determined that ships could be acquired from the Shipping Board by Presidential Executive Order, and by 17 Oct 21 negotiations between the Navy and the Shipping Board had reached the stage at which 27 specific hulls (12 tankers, 3 refrigerating ships, 11 cargo ships, and one passenger & cargo ship) had been selected, all but the tankers to replace an equivalent number of worn out Naval auxiliaries. On 29 Oct 21 Executive Order No. 3570 authorized the transfers. SecNav on 2 Nov 21 assigned new Navy names to 17 of the ships including two EFC Design 1022 (Hog Island Type A) freighters intended for use as "fleet tenders." These, NEDMAC and SHAUME, became ANTARES and PROCYON (AG 10-11) respectively. Both ships were inoperative and available without delay, NEDMAC at Hog Island, Pa., and SHAUME at Jamaica Bay, N.Y.
On 2 Nov 21 CNO directed the Commandant, 3rd Naval District, to place PROCYON in commission at the New York Navy Yard as the relief for LEBANON (AG-2). LEBANON was to be directed to proceed to the New York Navy Yard to effect this relief. CNO likewise directed the Commandant, 4th Naval District, to place ANTARES in commission at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and direct her to proceed to the Pacific Coast as the relief for NANSHAN (AG-3). On 26 Nov 21 CNO updated the status of these ships, noting that PROCYON would relieve LEBANON and would be ready to sail by 1 Feb 22. Upon completion of the winter maneuvers she would proceed to the West Coast and would become the target repair vessel of the Pacific Fleet, a duty then being performed by NANSHAN. ANTARES was still to relieve NANSHAN but the relief would take place on the Atlantic Coast. Material from NANSHAN would be shipped from the West to the East Coast by government conveyance. The services of ANTARES as target repair vessel of the Atlantic Fleet would be required by 1 May 22. On 8 Dec 21 CNO stated that NANSHAN had been ordered to the Mare Island Navy Yard to decommission and that SATURN (AG-4) would load personnel, material, and equipment from NANSHAN and bring it to Philadelphia to place ANTARES in commission. The tentative completion date for ANTARES was 1 Apr 22. On 7 Jan 22 CNO indicated that SATURN should arrive at Philadelphia with the equipment from NANSHAN about 15 Feb 22.
The authorized battery of both ships between the wars was 2-5"/51, 4-3"/50 AA, and 2-6pdr guns. AG-10 carried the 6pdrs between July 1941 and March 1942 and then embarked the 5" and 3" guns instead on 2 Apr 42. As of 1929 AG-10 had accommodations for 30 Marines and AG-11 had 4 berths for civilian hydrographers in addition to their regular complements.
ANTARES served as flagship of Commander Train, Fleet Base Force, and also served as Fleet Target Repair and Photographic Ship, participating in Fleet concentrations, maneuvers, and long range battle practices. She also acted as the flagship of Commander, Special Service Squadron. As of 4 Jun 36 she was regarded as in a reduced commission status as receiving ship at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was placed back in full commission on 17 May 37. On 15 Mar 40 the Bureau of Construction and Repair sent to the other Bureaus proposed plans for the conversion to Stores Issue Ships in case of national emergency of the Maritime Commission's four new C3-E type cargo ships of the EXPRESS (ID-4998) class. On 5 Aug 40 two converted AKI's were included in a large group of auxiliaries whose construction or acquisition was directed in the 70% Expansion Program. The designation AKI was changed to AKS on 16 Oct 40. Conversion of the under-employed AG-10 was evidently seen as an easy way to get a third AKS and she was reclassified to AKS-3 on 30 Nov 40.
In October 1930, when a number of ships were decommissioned by the Navy in accordance with a new Fleet operating plan, the New York State Education Department investigated and found that PROCYON, one of the ships to be decommissioned, was in excellent shape and was available for training purposes. Since 1907 New York had been using the former Navy gunboat NEWPORT (Gunboat No. 12, later IX-19) as a training ship. The Education Department obtained the support of Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, who requested that PROCYON be loaned and that her name be changed to EMPIRE STATE. The Secretary of the Navy approved this request on 3 Apr 31. PROCYON was loaned to the New York Merchant Marine Academy and renamed on 15 Jul 31, and at the same time she was made an "Unclassified" vessel on the Navy List with the file symbol IX-38. As World War II approached the ship was stricken from the Navy List on 30 Jun 40 and transferred to the Maritime Commission in accordance with the President's Reorganization Plan #4 of 11 Apr 40. She was modernized, given accommodations for about 600 cadets, and renamed AMERICAN PILOT as a training ship for the Maritime Commission's Maritime Service. She was transferred to the Coast Guard on 27 Jun 41 and then to the War Shipping Administration's Maritime Service on 11 Jul 42. Returned to New York State Maritime Academy 1946, the ship was laid up for disposal at Tarrytown, N.Y. 28 Jun 46.
||Ex merc. NEDMAC (ID-4239N, completed 26 Jul 19), ex- SHAKOPEE. To AKS-3 30 Nov 40 (ship notified 28 Mar 41). To buyer 18 Sep 47, scrapped by 29 Oct 47.
||Ex merc. SHAUME (ID-4239GG, completed 27 Jun 19). To Unclassified (IX-38) 15 Jul 31. To buyer 8 Mar 48, scrapped by 28 Sep 48.
Compiled: 02 Sep 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012