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USNS Sgt Curtis F Shoup (T-AG 175) ca. December 1963 with "Seasons Greetings to Madang" painted on her side and a "Merry Christmas" signal flag display.
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Class: SGT CURTIS F SHOUP (T-AG 175)
Design: MC C1-M-AV1
Displacement (tons): 3,000 light, 7,410 full
Dimensions (feet): 339' oa, 320' wl x 50' e/wl x 21' max nav
Armament: none
Accommodations: 11 officers, 34 unlicensed, 4 survey personnel
Speed (kts.): 10
Propulsion (HP): 1,700
Machinery: Diesel, 1 screw

Construction:
AGNameAcqBuilderKeelLaunchSvc
175SGT CURTIS F SHOUP16 Jan 1963Kaiser Cargo, Richmond #416 Apr 194525 May 194514 Jun 1963

Disposition:
AGNameTOOSStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale
175SGT CURTIS F SHOUPT20 Dec 196928 Apr 197027 Jan 1970MA15 May 1973

Class Notes:
Built as SPINDLE EYE, this ship wss completed on 9 July 1945 with modifications for use as a "news transmission ship" for the press during the planned invasion of Japan. She was delivered to the War Shipping Administration and placed under its agent Lykes Brothers Steamship Company the same day for operation. On 26 July 1945, after two atomic bombs made the invasion unnecessary, SPINDLE EYE was bareboat chartered to the War Department for operation by the Army. After serving as a radio relay ship at the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests she was converted to an Army passenger-cargo vessel (46 cabin and 66 troop passengers) and in November 1947 was renamed SERGEANT CURTIS F SHOUP for a Medal of Honor recipient. In August 1948 she was being operated by the Air Force, in February 1949 she was shifted to in-theater Army trooping, and in August 1949 she was operating on a cargo and passenger service, Oahu to Hawaii. She arrived at Seattle on 30 December 1949 for layup.

CNO on 30 October 1962 authorized a second ship to support the Southwest Pacific Survey Project, which had begun in September 1962. (The first ship was USNS HARRIS COUNTY, T-LST 822.) On 7 December 1962 Commander MSTS requested authority to acquire SGT CURTIS F SHOUP from the NDRF for this project and to designate her T-AG 175. MARAD on 24 January 1963 made the ship available to MSTS. CNO on 19 February 1963 asked SECNAV to instate the ship in the Naval Vessel Register as T-AG 175 effective 1 March 1963 and SECNAV approved the request on 21 February 1963.

The aim of the Southwest Pacific Survey was to establish the principal islands of the Southwest Pacific area on a common geodetic datum including connecting New Guinea and the adjacent islands to the geodetic network on the mainland of Australia. A similar set of surveys connected the western U.S. to the Pacific Islands as far west as the Kwajalein and Eniwetok Atolls forming the Western Test Range for ICBM development. This survey was then extended south through the islands of the South Pacific and connected to the Australian 1st order network, tying North America to Australia for the first time. The surveying itself was done mostly by former bomber aircraft including four Boeing RB-50's (B-29 Superfortresses with major modifications for reconnaissance purposes) using radar technology developed in World War II for precision bombing and navigation. Based in Guam and fitted with a helicopter platform on her bow, SGT CURTIS F SHOUP between 18 May 1963 and 1 November 1965 carried out an extensive survey effort around New Guinea and in the Marshall Islands.

On 14 August 1969 the Oceanographer of the Navy (OCEANAV), then engaged in cost-cutting measures (see the AGOR 3 class), recommended MSTS proceed with plans to replace SGT CURTIS F SHOUP with COASTAL CRUSADER as soon as possible in view of significant cost savings involved. OCENANAV wanted to minimize overlap time and have COASTAL CRUSADER operational by February 1970. Although OCEANAV no longer planned to use COASTAL CRUSADER for project CAESAR surveys (see AG 178) as proposed in August 1969, scientific facilities were still required for her use as the SHOUP replacement. In this message OCEANAV requested CNO concurrence for the ship switch and the reclassification of COASTAL CRUSADER instead of SHOUP to T-AGS 36. Subsequently SHOUP was firmly scheduled for withdrawal from service on 20 December 1969 in the San Francisco Bay area with the Oceanographer's scientific equipment to be removed by 5 January.

Ship Notes:
AGNameMANotes
175SGT CURTIS F SHOUP2381(ex-SPINDLE EYE). To Army 30 Aug 1946, to NDRF 25 Jan 1950. Permanent transfer to Navy 16 Jan 1963, on list 1 Mar 1963. To MA custody 22 Jan 1970, title to MA 27 Jan 1970. To buyer 17 Jul 1973.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 18 Oct 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Sources: DB, Maroon, VSC