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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.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.
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
Accommodations: 11 officers, 34 unlicensed, 4 survey personnel
Speed (kts.): 10
Propulsion (HP): 1,700
Machinery: Diesel, 1 screw
|175||SGT CURTIS F SHOUP||16 Jan 1963||Kaiser Cargo, Richmond #4||16 Apr 1945||25 May 1945||14 Jun 1963|
|175||SGT CURTIS F SHOUP||T||20 Dec 1969||28 Apr 1970||27 Jan 1970||MA||15 May 1973|
On 22 May 1945 General MacArthur requested the assignment of a vessel for the use of war correspondents as a "news transmission ship" during the planned invasion of Japan, with a press room, broadcasting facilities, quarters for correspondents, censors' offices, and capacity for carrying a number of quarter-ton vehicles. A C1-M-AV1, SPINDLE EYE, was selected and completed conversion on 9 July 1945. 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. She sailed from Seattle for Tokyo 16 September 1945 and, after serving as a news transmission ship at the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests, was converted to an Army passenger-cargo vessel (46 cabin and 66 troop passengers). On 19 November 1947 it was announced that she was one of 29 Army Transportation Corps cargo vessels that were being given the names of Army Medal of Honor winners, SPINDLE EYE becoming SERGEANT CURTIS F SHOUP. (The other 28 ships were Victory, Liberty, and diesel cargo ships like SPINDLE EYE and larger that were then being used for the movement of supplies for U.S. troops and the peoples of occupied countries and for repatriation of the war dead.) In August 1948 SHOUP 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 between Oahu and 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 at Olympia, Washington, 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.
In November 1966 SGT CURTIS F SHOUP was placed under the technical control of the Naval Oceanographic Office to meet increased requirements for gravity data. With SGT GEORGE D KEATHLEY (APC 117), assigned in May 1967, SHOUP conducted gravity, magnetic and bathymetric surveys for military use. During May 1968 she operated along a track from roughly 20 to 140 miles from the Egyptian coast. 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 SHOUP with COASTAL CRUSADER (T-AGM 16) 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 (SOSUS) surveys as proposed in August 1969, scientific facilities were still required for her use as the SHOUP replacement. In the 14 August 1969 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. COASTAL CRUSADER was duly reclassified to T-AGS 36, but the plans to convert her to a surveying ship quickly fell through and she joined the NDRF in February 1970.
|175||SGT CURTIS F SHOUP||2381||(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. Converted with a helicopter deck by Willamette Iron & Steel Works, Portland, Ore. Redesignation to T-AGS 36 cancelled ca. August 1969. To MA custody 22 Jan 1970, title to MA 27 Jan 1970. To buyer 17 Jul 1973.|
Compiled: 18 Oct 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021